Baked beans are my favorite childhood food memory. Behind my Maw Maw’s biscuits, baked beans were what I looked for next on her kitchen table during the holidays. Holiday meals at her house brought every family member and a smorgasbord of food with tons of yummy goodness. No fancy table setting, the kitchen table was spread with food and the counters lined with more food. Because our family was so big, you got your plate and looked for a place to sit and eat. Many times I sat in her back bedroom on the bed or we stood at the dresser in the room. Every room was full of people, many standing to eat and it never bothered them because of the fellowship with each other. Every holiday throughout the year was like that. Everyone enjoyed getting together and eating their favorite foods.
Easy Flavorful Baked Beans
Some aunts became famous for their roast beef or banana pudding while others are not remembered for what they brought. The aunt who brought the baked beans, I don’t remember, but I remember the smoky taste from bacon along with the right amount of sweetness. A comforting food memory I will always cherish.
Over the years, I have been asked to bring a certain chocolaty dessert or salad for gatherings and I have taken one dish on occasion – my baked beans. When I still lived at home, I played with the ingredients my momma had in her pantry while trying different recipes in the old cookbook from the 70’s that our school put together as a fundraiser.
Because each of those recipes called for plain old pork and beans that is what I only use in my recipe and I remove that creepy little piece of pork. Is that even pork? Because it is the texture of a squishy, wet marshmallow. The cans of “baked beans” you cook on the stovetop with crazy flavors are not for me. I want to create a flavor similar to my childhood memory.
It wasn’t until I discovered one ingredient that changed my baked beans – molasses! In the beginning of making brown sugar, I used too much molasses once and had a very dark brown sugar. When I made baked beans with that brown sugar I was amazed! The taste equaled perfection so I knew I had to add molasses to my beans.
This recipe makes a 9x13 pan full, so if you need a smaller batch of beans, just cut the recipe in half. The leftovers, if there are any are even better the next day.
Easy Flavorful Baked Beans
4 (15.5oz) cans pork and beans
1 pound bacon chopped
1 onion chopped
4 TBSP molasses
¾ cup brown sugar
3 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP yellow mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain the juice off of one can of beans and set aside.
In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp and remove. Add the onion to the bacon grease and sauté until translucent and drain.
In a large bowl add all ingredients and mix well. If your beans seem a little dry add a tad bit of the reserved bean juice but not too much or they will become very juicy while cooking. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover your beans and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
Do you have a favorite childhood food memory? Let me know, I love reading what you have to say.