Mom Wray's Baked Beans

The first time I ate these beans, I was dating my husband. We had them at a cook out at his parent's home. That was forty years ago! Is it crazy that I can remember this? I'm grateful that some things just stick with you- like the love I have for my husband and these baked beans!

This is also one of those rare recipes, that you start making and never, ever, look for another recipe. Because this one tastes exactly like you want it to taste, you're perfectly happy. The search is over.

When I asked my mother in law how to make these beans, what she gave me was kind of a non recipe. She never measured the ingredients. She just dumped things into a bowl and tasted until she had it the way she wanted. Good cooks can do this.

At twenty years old, I wasn't a good cook, so I had to learn from experience and after all these years, now, I make them that way too. To keep you from going through all that, I'm giving you some measurements! Remember though, to taste as you go, so you can make beans that you love. Before you know it, you'll remember the ingredients and ditch the measurements too.

There are recipes for "real" baked beans that call for dried beans, soaked overnight and long bake times. Think Boston Baked Beans. This is not that recipe. In fact, it's so easy to put together, it's almost embarrassing, when people start raving about your baked beans and ask for the recipe.

Here's how you put together a dish that might become your favorite summer side.

Start with 3 cans of pork and beans. I like Van Camps best, but you use what you like. If there is a piece of pork in the can ( sometimes there's not), I discard it. I'll add my own pork, thank you very much. Empty contents into a large bowl.

Add brown sugar and molasses for sweetener. Don't think you can skip the molasses, because that is what makes them taste so good. You may want to adjust the amount of sugars, depending on how sweet you want your beans. Remember to taste as you go.

Next you will add some dijon mustard (or regular mustard if that's what you have) and Worcestershire sauce. Mix and taste.

Dice part of an onion, and if you like peppers in your beans, red or green, add them now. I like peppers in my beans, but some people don't, so I rarely add them. Cut these veggies into a fine dice, because you want them to cook thoroughly, and not bite into a big old piece of crunchy onion. I'll save that for my burger. This is your last opportunity to taste and adjust any of the ingredients because we are getting ready to add raw pork. Add pepper if you like, but go lightly on the salt, because the bacon is salty. Finely dice one or two slices of bacon. I like a nice thick slice for this.

Pour beans into a baking dish and bake in a low oven (325 degrees) for a few hours.

Check in on them every so often, and remember they will continue to thicken as they sit. If you overcook, as I have done on occasion, you can stir in some water to loosen them up. It's hard to mess up these beans. And if you have leftovers, they will taste better the next day. Enjoy!

Mom Wray's Baked Beans

3 cans Pork and Beans

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup molasses

1 T. mustard

1 T. Worchestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 small onion, diced fine

1-2 slices bacon, diced fine

Mix all together in a large bowl. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 325 for an hour and a half to two hours. Check to make sure the beans aren't getting too dry. They will thicken some as they cool.

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