Howard’s Baked Beans

Today, we celebrated the men and women who have given their lives so we can live in this great country of ours.  A dear friend had on a shirt last week which read, “Home of the Free because of the Brave”.  So true!

What better way to celebrate a day off and the freedoms we have than to eat good food with good friends.  So, I decide to make one of my favorite cookout foods today which is baked beans.

These baked beans were handed down from my step-father, Howard, who has passed away.  His birthday would have been during this week as well.  I just couldn’t help but think of posting this recipe as a memorial to him today.  It is great to know his legacy lives on in more ways than one.  Once you make your beans Howard’s way, I doubt you will ever go back.

Howard’s Baked Beans

3 cans (15 oz, each) cheap pork & beans, drained*
1 lb bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup molasses*
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 T Dijon mustard
Coca Cola

Cook the bacon reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.  Saute onions in bacon grease until tender.  Pour onions and grease into a large baking dish.  Add drained beans, molasses, brown sugar, and mustard to the baking dish.  Stir the ingredients together.  Crumble the cooked bacon and stir into the bean mixture.  Add a small amount of Coca Cola.  I usually start with about 1/4 cup.

Cook covered at 300 degrees for approximately 2 hours watching to make sure the beans do not get too dry.  Add more Coca Cola if the beans get too dry and stir.  The beans can be eaten right away or made ahead.  If you make the beans ahead of time, just add more Coca Cola to the beans when you reheat them.

*Howard thought that the cheaper beans such as a generic brand were firmer and did not mush together when cooking.  He liked Safeway Townhouse brand.  I use Van Camp.  Molasses is also the key to these beans.

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