Sunday, May 22, 2016

Grandma Brown's Baked Bean Sandwich

My post concerning Grandma Brown's Baked Beans (Mexico, NY) has long been one of my most viewed. I am quite happy with this as I absolutely love Grandma Brown's beans. In fact, for years as a younger man I kept one of the 116 once mega-cans in my apartment as an objet d'art.

Aside from the beautiful label design, Grandma Brown makes some delicious no-nonsense bean products. Just peruse the comment section of my post and you will sense the intense loyalty felt towards these beans by my fellow Upstate New York countrymen.

Something that caught my eye while reading through those comments were the repeated reminiscences concerning Grandma Brown's baked bean sandwiches. Here is such a comment from "Jim" --

"I was born in Fulton NY not far from Mexico NY.
Grandma Browns was an "institution" for any baked bean fan in our area. In the early 50's the company had a booth at the NYS Fair, and sold bean sandwiches for .15 (fifteen cents !).
There was a one block line of people waiting for them. The next year ? No GB sandwiches. Rumor had it that the "hot dog and burger" guys threatened not to come back if GB was allowed ! I believe it was true.
Jim Mahern - "still a fan"!"

Baked bean sandwiches, eh? This is not a tradition that I am familiar with. Some cursory google research informed me that the baked bean sandwich seems to be a tradition out of New England. This makes sense to me. I have long said that Upstate New York (at least the eastern part) shares a common food culture with inland New England. 

My initial thought was that the baked bean sandwich would have been served warm. However, it appears that the baked bean sandwich is a dish traditionally served cold. I am not averse to consuming Grandma Brown's products cold. One of my guilty pleasures is tortilla chips with ersatz bean dip made from GB's bean soup straight out o' the can. So I decided to make a traditional baked bean sandwich.

I cracked open a can of GB's baked beans and spooned some right onto a slice of Freihofer's.

Don't that look beautiful?

Tucking in I found the bean sandwich to be thoroughly pleasant. It's one of those starch on starch concepts that scratches a very particular itch. I imagine that a bean sandwich made out of leftovers from a batch of doctored (I always add bacon and mustard) Grandma Brown's beans would be sublime.

You know what this sandwich was missing? I'll tell you my idear for the perfect GB's bean sandwich. Butter the heck out of that bread with some softened butter, squirt a little mustard onto that bread, and ensure there was some good smokey bacon involved in your bean preparation.

This is the first food project I've done in years that really made me swell with Upstate New York pride... After nearly a decade of writing this hack weblog I am still discovering new traditions from my beloved homeland!

Perhaps you should prepare some GB beans at your memorial day BBQ. Then perhaps you should make a sandwich out of the leavings. This is my advice to you.


  1. my family would add the ketchup also..but what strikes me is your use of butter on the sandwich - anytime I use that around here....people look mighty strangely at me - nice to know buttering your sandwich bread is not so odd - A nys picnic must include Grandma's Browns, and helluva.

  2. Yes- Ketchup! It adds a nicely sharp not to the beans.

    In the UK Baked Beans on Toast were a popular light repast, but over there it involves the familiar tomato sauce variety.

  3. I've been eating these beans for over 60 years. Being from Canada, we used to be able to get them in our local stores. When our Government decided that the labeling had to include French, the company ceased shipping to Canada. That only made them harder to get, but I still get them.
    I bake my beans with butter and brown sugar on top. All the leftovers go for bean sandwiches. I get a meal and 2 sandwiches from a 1lb can.

  4. My dad got me started on these. Only GB beans have the right consistency for a sandwich. My dad took them for lunch at the GE in Schenectady on Mondays because they would be leftover from the Sat/Sun picnic. I like mine w/ some ketchup. Enjoy your site. Keep up the research.

  5. My Mom always mixed the left over beans with mayo. Loved those sandwiches.


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