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Taste test: baked beans

Serving size half cup half cup half cup
Calories 160 150 170
Fat/Fiber 0g / 7g 1g / 7g .5g / 6g
Sugars/Sodium 17g / 660mg 11g / 540mg 15g / 480mg
Carbs/Protein 34g / 6g 30g / 6g 35g / 7g

There are all kinds of things you can serve when you fire up the grill and invite friends and neighbors over, but our panelists like to keep the summer menu simple with burgers, hot dogs, chips and baked beans. Usually, baked beans need a bit of doctoring, but we found seven brands of canned beans already seasoned with brown sugar and other spices. After heating the beans on the stove, we found three brands that would complement any cookout.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
KC Masterpiece

With Hickory


Brown Sugar




Brown Sugar

and Bacon


Grillin' Beans

With Bourbon


Brown Sugar


One panelist described these beans as dark, brooding and moody. He liked the firm texture, saying, "These are like a mattress made of molasses." They have a hint of smokiness that appealed to most judges. "These are wonderful and could easily be claimed as your own," said one. These beans were more sour than sweet with a liberal amount of salt to the taste.Judges said these were most like traditional baked beans with a nice hint of ham. "They are a great, classic baked bean with a perfect picnic taste," said one. "These are like the Fourth of July at Tropicana Field in the bottom of the ninth and the Rays are at bat with the bases loaded and Peña hits," said one. "Yes! It's a home run! These are great summer beans — a home run!""These look like Back Bay in the Boston Harbor from the good, savory graze on the beans," said one judge. "They have a slight, harsh, salty taste." A couple of panelists said these beans would go especially well with a traditional hot dog. "You could dress up a hot dog or brat by liberally slathering these over the bun and the dog and then scarfing the whole thing down," said one. "They are a good, solid, picnic bean."

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1 for a 16-ounce can from Walmart.$2.19 for a 28-ounce can.$1.75 for a 22-ounce can from Walmart.

Also Sampled: Van Camp's Baked Beans Sweet Hickory With Brown Sugar & Natural Hickory Flavor ($1.49 for a 28-ounce can from Sweetbay, 40 points); B & M Baked Beans With Molasses, Bacon, Brown Sugar & Spices ($1.49 for a 16-ounce can from Sweetbay, 32 points); Heinz Home Style Brown Sugar & Bacon ($1 for a 16-ounce can from Walmart, 20 points); and Market Pantry Baked Beans Seasoned With Brown Sugar & Bacon ($1.02 for a 16-ounce can from Target, 20 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, manager of the R Bar in Treasure Island; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Clinique of Plastic Surgery in St. Petersburg; and Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste test: baked beans 05/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 4:30am]
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