Baked beans, bacon optional

When people ask me if I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, I smile and say, “I was at a party where it was on.” Though I have no knowledge of (nor much interest in) football, I had a wonderful time catching up with friends, admiring Gina’s beautiful backyard, and demanding that my friends change the channel to the Puppy Bowl on commercial breaks.

The party also gave me an opportunity to share these baked beans, which are a McCormick family favorite and the perfect addition to potlucks celebrating American-ness in any form. My dad’s recipe calls for a half-pound of bacon to cover the beans while they’re baking; I obviously wasn’t going to add that so I compensated with some barbecue sauce and coconut oil.

How did they turn out, you ask? The flavor was smoky and rich, with a little hit of sweetness. The texture of the beans was beautifully velvety– they held together just until about halfway through the bite, at which point they basically melted on my grateful tongue.

My friend Stu, who works for Prather Ranch, brought bacon hunks to the party, pictured above. Some of the omnis used the bacon hunks as garnish for a bowlful of beans, while others opted to ladle a few spoonfuls of beans on their hot dogs.

Baked beans

Adapted from Dad’s recipe


  • 1 lb dried small white beans
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce (I like the Trader Joe’s one)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tsp dry mustard (like Colman’s)
  • tiny pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 225º.
  2. Cover the beans in water, bring to a boil, then simmer in saucepan for half an hour to swell the beans.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the beans, onion, molasses, ketchup, barbecue sauce, coconut oil, mustard, and cloves. Stir to blend.
  4. Transfer to the beans to an oven-safe dish with a lid. (The lid has to be oven-safe too–check to make sure the button on top isn’t made of meltable plastic.)
  5. Add the seasonings to the beans and stir to combine.
  6. Cover the beans with about 5 times as much water as beans.
  7. Bake covered at 225º for about 8 hours. Check them every couple of hours to make sure they haven’t dried out if you’re awake. I baked them overnight, which is why I recommend adding so much water to the beans: you can add less initially if you plan to check them often, then as more as needed.
  8. Salt close to serving time. If you add the salt too early in the cooking process the beans will get tough and rubbery.



1 Comment

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One response to “Baked beans, bacon optional

  1. Pingback: How to Survive and Thrive at an Omni BBQ | Ovoo

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