Apache Camper Blog

  • Published on Aug 03, 2015
    More than S'mores Nancy Edition Ranch Beans

    One treat that you can’t go camping without is my famous Ranch Beans.  My mother taught me the recipe when I was young, and I have been making it to rave reviews ever since.  I usually make this ahead of a camping trip, and then we are ready to go – eat them cold, heat them up, however you prefer.  It is the perfect side dish for steaks, burgers, chicken, even and especially hot dogs.  We always have them at our company cookouts.  There was one employee who liked the beans so much he would fill a hot dog bun just with the beans and call it dinner. 

    The ingredient list is simple, but the results are fabulous!  Once you master the basic recipe, you can use it as a base for any variation that you prefer.  However, my family and I are purists and take the base recipe wherever we happen to go.

    You will need:

    1 – 2 lbs. hamburger (I usually use the 93% for less fat residue)

    Green onions

    Brown sugar

    Van Camp’s pork and beans

    Heinz ketchup

    The first step is to thoroughly brown the hamburger and season it liberally with salt and pepper.  Once the hamburger is nearly cooked, I chop the green ends of the green onions and add them to the hamburger to cook and add flavor.  (drain off any excess fat)

    While this is going on, open the beans and drain completely by pushing the lid against the beans – a little liquid won’t really hurt, but not too much. 

    Find the best ratio of beans to meat – regular sized cans will go on sale occasionally and that is when I stock up.  With 1 lb. of hamburger, I will generally use about 4 or 5 cans depending on how meaty I want the mixture.  Add the drained beans to the cooked hamburger and stir.  Once this is accomplished, add ketchup to thin mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Let this portion of the mixture simmer and adjust to taste.  I usually taste constantly during the process and use a ruffled potato chip as the tasting spoon.  Less waste, and tastes great. 

    Simmer for a short time, and then you are ready for a taste treat!  Once cooled, spoon into plastic containers and date.  This mixture will last in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

    Some additions that I have used in the past are bacon, mustard, sharp cheddar cheese (shredded), Tabasco, Worcestershire, and occasionally chili powder (limit the amount).  The beans themselves are a savory/sweet taste, and with any additions that you make, you can add a little heat, throw a little garlic at it, just about anything that sounds good.

    If you are in a hurry sometime, you can simply brown the hamburger, season with salt and pepper and add the green onions and use this mixture for what I call Nebraska Maid Rites.  Spoon the crumbled hamburger onto the hamburger bun, add the toppings you prefer, and chow down.  Multiple uses for this dish are one of the reasons it is our go – to for camping.  Your imagination is your only limitation on the variations. 

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