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Jun 30, 2008 11:22 AM

Great Baked Beans Recipe?

I want to make a great baked beans for the 4th. I've got a pound of dried white beans, a smoked ham hock instead of bacon, and dark karo instead of molasses. I do have an old ceramic bean crock with a lid and plan to slow cook them in the oven. Will the bacon and molasses substitutes I have work or am I going to regret one or the other? Thanks in advance to any bean makers out there.

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  1. They will work. Molasses is but one traditional sweetener used in making baked beans; maple syrup is another. And you can always add brown sugar for the molasses flavor. If you want the flavor of smoked meat (as opposed to merely salted meat), the ham hock is OK, but you may need to adjust the salt to taste at the end.

    Ceramic bean crock is perfect.

    Use a slow oven and cook for longer. Like 250F for 6-10 hours, with the last hour uncovered. I usually soak my beans over the course of the day, then parboil them until the skins can separate by with a sharp blow from your mouth, and let them cook overnight. They are great for breakfast in the winter that way....

    You can search this board for many recipes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Thanks. All of the "traditional" recipes I found called for bacon and molasses in addition to the brown sugar, and i did think about using maple syrup too. I just didn't want to wreck a days worth of work if the karo was going to be terribly wrong. I did wreck a perfectly good pecan pie once because I used molasses instead of karo and it was awful. The smoked meat taste will not bother me but I guess I will need to add a bit of salt. thanks for that tip too.

      1. re: Ellen

        The hock will have plenty of salt in its curing process. Molasses and maple syrup are natural sugar products, as is brown sugar. But Karo is a hydrolysed corn product (starch converted to sugar) so you may want to borrow something from a neighbour.
        C.I. recommends an overnight bean soak in brine. I haven't tried this but it should help in getting tender white beans.

        1. re: jayt90

          Karo can replace molasses (dark Karo is made from a molasses like syrup), but it will taste less sweet. I would recommend tasting when uncovering the beans for the last hour of cooking, and if it is not sweet enough add brown sugar to taste before completing the cooking.

          1. re: jayt90

            Soak overnight in water and cook all day with the other ingredients. I'd skip the salt in the soaking water. A simple, foolproof and delicious dish.

            A little heavy for mid-summer perhaps, excepting as a side for barbecued meat. I love me a bowl o' beans with a hunk of crusty French bread any time of day in the colder months. Nice as a part of a complete fat and protein meal too: fried eggs, sausage and home fries.

      2. I would also add an onion (put whole onion in with beans), dried mustard and pepper.

        1. I use a recipe that calls for molasses and maple syrup, karo should be fine. It also calls for worcherstershire sauce.

          I love brown beans, my grandma who was only a so-so cook made the best brown beans and biscuits. Enjoy.

          1. I like this very simple but delicious bean recipe
            Colorado Beans
            Lean Ground Beef 1 pound
            Bacon, chopped 4 slices (I use turkey bacon)
            Canola or Olive Oil 2 Tbsp
            Onions, thinly sliced 4 small
            White vinegar ½ cup
            Brown sugar ½ cup
            Green Lima Beans, drained 15 ounce can
            White Butter Beans, drained 15 ounce can
            Kidney Beans, drained 15 ounce can
            Baked beans 15 ounce can

            Sauté the ground beef and drain well. Also cook the bacon until crisp and drain the fat. Cook the onion in the vegetable oil until limp and translucent (I cook it a very long time) Mix all the remaining ingredients together with the onion and meat and place in a crock. Cover and bake at 325° for 1-½ hours. I always double the recipe and many times substitute other canned beans.

            (I use the crock insert from my crock-pot, but bake it in the oven and if I’m serving it just keep it warm in the crock-pot. I’m sure the whole thing could be done in the crock-pot; I just haven’t done it to know how many hours that would take. dlg