Quick Recipes and Easy

The Perfect Pot of Baked Beans

In the shadows of my mind I have a lot of memories. Many of them have to do with food and my childhood. When I reckon of the way some foods tasted back then I search high and low and when I can not find them I try to re-make them.

One of the foods I really looked forward to when I was a young child was my fantastic-grandmother’s baked beans. I remember the mouthwatering aroma. She usually made them when the weather was cold and snowy.

After I got married I chose I was going to bake those beans. So I proceeded to buy baked bean recipes. I do not like the beans that come in a can. The flavor just is not there. I reckon I tried at least a dozen recipes for a period of two or three years. Every time I made a pot I would question my grandfather to taste them. He would taste them, tell me they were excellent, but not as excellent as his mother made.

Frustrated, I gave up on recipes and started what I call the place and taste method. I would place ingredients together, taste them and when I felt they tasted right I would bake the beans. When I thought they were done I questioned my grandfather to do the taste again. He would taste and tell me that I was getting closer.

I just could not figure out what my fantastic-grandmother did to those beans. So I sat and thought about the clues that lurked in my head. There was no electricity back then and she cooked on a wood stove. She had a real bean pot and I recall smelling them all night. So using those memories and my place and taste method I came up with the following formula for baked beans.

For every pound of dry navy beans, I use 1-cup of brown sugar. Wash the beans. Soak them for 8-hours. Do not drain the beans. Add the brown sugar and enough water to cover the beans by 1-inch. Add salt pork or smokey bacon pieces, chopped onion, chopped garlic, and a small salt to taste. Place the cover on the pot and turn the oven on 225-degrees. Place the beans in the oven and bake for 10-12 hours. Stir them well before putting them in the oven.

The first time I made the beans this way, I again questioned grandpa to do the taste test. He tasted and tasted again. This time he had a smile on his face. He admitted that I had finally done it. He questioned what I had done now that I did not do before. I told him I forgot about them in the oven all night. He chuckled and with a twinkle in his eye told me that was how his mother did it. I told him that I was never told to bake them all night. Grandpa told me that I never questioned.

One more thing, once the pot of beans is in the oven, DO NOT STIR them. If you reckon they look dry after they are done, then just add a small water. and let them set a few minutes.

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