Liven Up Baked Beans With Summer Peaches For An Easy Labor Day Side

For many people, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. And what better way to celebrate than with a barbecue to end all barbecues? Make your Labor Day picnic, party, or backyard cookout one to remember by serving all the classic favorites with an easy elevated twist, by upgrading the sides.

One classic side to any barbecue is baked beans. Whether you make them from scratch or get a helping hand from canned baked beans (hey, no judgments here), it's an easy dish to customize. Perhaps you're already tried combining baked beans with tried and true classic additions like bacon and molasses, and maybe you've even the more tropical combo of canned pineapple and baked beans.

This Labor Day, try adding another popular summer fruit: peaches. Not only does this sweet and savory combo make a delightful and tasty side dish, but it's also easy to make and works well as a topping on other barbecue favorites like hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.

All kinds of peaches welcome

September and late August marks the end of peak peach season in some parts of the US, which makes this dish an especially timely one for Labor Day. Use fresh peaches if you can (and be sure to take note of the absolute best ways to keep peaches fresh until you're ready to use them). If not, frozen peaches, canned peaches, canned peach pie filling, and peach preserves all work. Some recipes even call for both peach preserves and fresh or frozen peaches.

Although the peaches (in whatever form) will add sweetness to the dish, you'll probably want to add another sweetener, and many recipes call for brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, or some combination of the three, along with condiments like ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce. Bacon is a common addition, along with onions and peppers (which should all be cooked ahead of time). For a bit of kick, try adding some pimiento peppers or jalapeno peppers. And for an extra depth of flavor, mix in a bit of bourbon — bourbon and peaches go hand in hand and will add another layer of complexity to the dish. As a bonus, you can make yourself a bourbon and peach smash or a peach mint julep to sip on while prepping or enjoying your peaches and baked beans side.