When I was a little girl, I would read my treasured copy of Little Town on the Prairie and my mouth would water at the description of Ma's baked beans. You know, the ones she put in the oven Sunday morning before church and let slow cook all day. Who knew wood stoves were the original crock pot?!
In Ma's version, the beans are poured into the pan (presumably with water), drizzled with molasses and a slab of salt pork placed on the top. Simple, easy food, right? Easy to recreate at home, but I knew that we would want a little more flavor than just molasses and pork. No problem! I have always had the suspicion that Ma's beans had some extra flavors in there anyway. Through a lot of trial and error, I have finally come to the baked bean recipe of my dreams.
These are beans are on the sweeter side and are perfect with anything off the grill: BBQ burgers, steak or chicken. A little coleslaw to go along with it and you have one heck of a feast. I call them campfire baked beans because I bake them up in a dutch oven, and they could be easily cooked over a campfire. Also, if you are interested int his sort of thing- all of the ingredients are really food storage friendly. Oh, and did I mention that it's just another delicious way to use up beans? Don't be afraid to buy them in large quantities. They are cheaper that way, store well and have about a million uses!
Campfire Baked Beans
- 2 cups small white beans
- 10 cups water
- 6-8 slices thick cut bacon or side pork, cooked and chopped into large pieces
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup ketchup OR BBQ sauce, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 3 cups water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pot, bring 10 cups of water and the beans to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. In a dutch oven, combine the rest of the ingredients, except for the 3 cups water, and stir to combine. Pour in the beans and their cooking water and bake, covered, in the oven for 4 hours. After they have cooked for 4 hours, remove the lid and add in the remaining water. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours more, until they have reached your desired thickness and the beans are completely cooked through.
Not only are these really, really good as a side dish- they are also great in recipes where you would use canned pork-n-beans. My family loves it when I make these Beanie Weenies with these beans instead of canned pork and beans. Don't be put off by the large recipe if you don't need to make that many- these freeze really well or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Honestly, they are even better the net day. If they become very thick when reheating, just add a little water to get them back to your desired consistency.