My grandma’s original baked bean recipe included some type of meat, but we discovered that it’s just as delicious without the meat.
Grandma’s Baked Beans
1 lb. dry navy beans, soaked 8 hours
4-5 c. water
2 t. dried mustard
2-3 onions, quartered
bit of cloves or cinnamon
2 t. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
2 T. vinegar
Add soaked beans, water, mustard, onions, and cloves or cinnamon to a Crock Pot set on high. Cook ~4 hours (beans should be slightly tender), then add remaining ingredients, turn down to low, and cook ~4 hours more, or until desired tenderness.
The beauty of making your own baked beans is that you can control the amount of salt and sugar. Start with the amounts in the recipe, and add more to taste.
As written above, I add the sugar, salt, and vinegar later in the cooking process because these ingredients slow the beans’ cooking and can lead to tough beans.
Sometimes I add a bit of bulgar wheat (AKA cracked wheat) if the sauce seems too watery.
The original recipe calls for baking these in the oven, instead of using a Crock Pot. I avoid this method because it requires that the oven be on for 6-8 hours. If you want to try it in the oven, combine the first 5 ingredients in a pot and boil on the stove top for one hour. Then add remaining ingredients, transfer to a baking dish, and bake at 250° for 6-8 hours.