Did the name scare you off? Gosh, I hope not. While these delicious Baked Beans may take a while, I promise you aren’t going to spend the next three days slaving away in the kitchen. In reality, this dish could be made in two days – an overnight soak and cooking the next day. However; between the simmering and baking, you are investing about 5 or 6 hours of cooking in a single day. I like my beans to be ready about mid-afternoon for family gatherings, so I start mine three days ahead. It beats the heck out of rolling my lazy butt out of bed at the crack of dawn. Okay, I’m up with the chickens anyway, but I need about a gallon of coffee before my brain is fully awake.
Now we could open a can of Bush’s Baked Beans to serve at our next barbecue. I’m not complaining – heating up a can of beans is super easy and Bush’s Baked Beans are pretty doggone tasty. Check out their website and Bush will tell you their baked beans are made the way we would make baked beans – if we had the time. They use navy Beans, just like we do, and cook them up slow – letting all those wonderful flavors reach their full potential.
As awesome as canned beans are, nothing beats the rich flavor of home-made baked beans. Summer is the time for lots of backyard entertaining. Beans just seem to go well with just about anything. Hot Dogs and beans. Ribs and beans. Smokey Barbecued Chicken and – yep – beans!
Old Fashion Boston Baked Beans
2 cups navy beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Day One: Sort through the beans, pick out the best ones. Put beans in a large pot. Cover the beans with cold water and soak overnight.
Day Two: Place the pot of beans with the soaking water over medium-low heat. Simmer the beans until almost tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours.
Drain beans, reserving the liquid.
Peel and dice the onion, set it aside.
In a cast iron skillet, fry up the bacon until just beginning to brown and release its fat. Place on paper towels, let drain. Stack bacon and chop width-wise into smaller strips, about an inch or so square.
Arrange half of the beans in a large casserole dish in an even layer. Top bean layer with onions and bacon. Spread out evenly. Layer remaining beans over the bacon and onion layer. Set casserole dish aside.
In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over the beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and place refrigerator overnight.
Day Three: Remove casserole dish from the refrigerator. Keep covered and let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to take the chill off the dish.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bake covered beans for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender and everything is nice and bubbling.
Remove the lid and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry. Gently fold beans to mix the bacon and onions throughout. Return the beans; uncovered, to the oven and continue to bake another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The sauce should be thick, the beans oh so tender, laced with bits of bacon and onion.
Remove dish from oven and serve. (At this point, you could transfer the beans to the bowl of your crock pot and let them sit another day in the refrigerator. Then warm them slowly on serving day. The longer the beans mingle together with the sauce, the deeper the flavor).
Note: Taking your baked beans to a potluck? Great! Just place the cooked beans into a crock pot set to low or warm. When ready to leave, pack up the crock pot along with a large serving spoon and away you go. Plug in your pot to keep the baked beans warm and serve.