I like old family recipes. I like the recipes your Grandma Evelyn makes and the recipes from your Great Uncle Lewis. I especially like the recipes from my brother in-law's Grandpa Clyde. Plus, with a name like Clyde, you are destined to be prodigious.
Last fall, I took a road trip to Sparks, NV to sit on my sister's comfortable couches and eat chocolate cream pie. My brother in-law and I talked about food and he told me tales of these amazing baked beans from his Grandpa Clyde. So after a little e-mailing between his brothers, he was able to round up the recipe and send it to me. Fast forward six months and my other brother in-law graduates from the fire academy. My sister Caitlyn asked if Ethan would make some baked beans for the post-graduation celebration. And then that turned into me making them. Good thing I had a recipe on tap. Thank you Grandpa Clyde. We thoroughly enjoyed these.
The flavor is hard to pin point. All the ingredients have a lot of flavor on their own. Ketchup, molasses, bacon- all of those can stand on their own two feet. When they were combined together with creamy beans, it was a perfect party of smoky and sweet. A great addition to a grilled hot dog or hamburger. And besides these having a great flavor, they are a snap to put together. Not knowing your preferred method of preparation, I have included instructions for both slow cooker and stove top.
1 onion, diced
1 lb bacon, diced
2 31 oz cans Van Camp's pork and beans, drained
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup ketchup
4 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
Splash of liquid smoke
Slow cooker instructions: In a large skillet over medium high heat, add onion and bacon. Saute until onion is softened and the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Pour onions and bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate and drain off the fat.
In a slow cooker, combine pork and beans, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, salt and liquid smoke. Stir in onions and bacon. Stir well to combine. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Stove top instructions: In a large skillet over medium high heat, add onion and bacon. Saute until onion is softened and the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Pour onions and bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate and drain off the fat.
Set the skillet back on the heat and combine pork and beans, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, salt and liquid smoke. Stir in onions and bacon. Stir well to combine. Bring bean mixture to a simmer and then turn heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Rookie's Notes: I made this recipe to feed a crowd. I doubled it and it all fit perfectly in the slow cooker.
Confession. I messed around with this recipe a bit. I omitted the barbecue sauce and the ground beef. My brother in-law is going to kill me. He said the beef was essential. And maybe it was. But I sure didn't miss it. And I waited to add the barbecue sauce. I just wanted to see how things melded once they were cooked. Honestly, I had plans to add it. The bottle sat next to the slow cooker, waiting for it's turn in the pool. But after tasting, I decided to leave it out. I think it would have just gotten lost in the flavors.
Also, the addition of liquid smoke is mine. Liquid smoke is kind of like a good luck charm. It seems to make everything taste good. Just a small amount and dish has a smoky flavor you couldn't get elsewhere. You can buy bottles of liquid smoke on the top shelf by the barbecue sauce and ketchup. Warning, don't open the bottle of liquid smoke and take big whiff. It will knock you out. Sniff gently.
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