Mmmmm.....baked beans! Where do I begin with this story?
Well, growing up, we had my Meme's (grandma's) baked beans at just about EVERY family gathering we had. It was one of things I looked forward to and went back for seconds (and usually thirds) of! I've tried a lot of baked beans over the years, and nothing compared to those my Meme made. As I grew older, my Meme stopped making them quite as frequently. Eventually, she stopped all together when she could longer carry her bean pot with the contents in it, or muster up the strength to scrub the pot when her beans were done. For the past 5 years or so, she's been "doctoring" up canned baked beans instead to make things easier on herself, but they are just not the same.
Last summer, I asked Meme for her recipe so I could make them for my son's baptismal party. She was ecstatic that I would want to carry on the family tradition by making them! She gladly gave me the recipe, and that's when I told her I was going to make them in the slow cooker. She said, "you can do that?!" Well, I do everything in the slow cooker, so of course I told her,"yup!" They turned out excellent! She gladly taste tested them at our family gathering and gave me her seal of approval! I love that I can now keep our family tradition going!
The key to these dark, sweet and delicious baked beans is to let it cook for a long time! 12+ hours for these! They are SO worth the wait and your guests will love them! This makes a very large batch and you will need a 6 quart or larger slow cooker for this recipe. If you have a smalller crock, just cut the recipe in half.
Slow Cooked Baked Beans
12 or 13 oz. Salt Pork, chopped into small strips
1 large onion, chopped
2 lbs. Michigan Navy Beans (if you can't find Michigan, just use Navy Beans!)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup Ketchup
3 Tbsp. Mustard
7 cups Water
Sort your beans to make sure there are no rocks/bad beans. Soak them in water overnight, with at least enough water to cover them plus 4". In the morning, drain and rinse your beans.
Spray your crock with non-stick spray. Place half of your salt pork at the bottom. Add half the beans and half of the onions. Mix together the brown sugar, ketchup and mustard and pour half of this over the onion layer/salt pork layer. Repeat this process with the remaining salt pork, beans, onions and sauce. Pour in your 7 cups of water.
Cover and cook on LOW for 12+ hours. You will know these are done when your mixture has turned nice and brown and has thickened. If you want them thicker, turn the Slow Cooker to HIGH and leave the lid off for an hour or more.