With summer weather right around the corner, BBQ season is gearing up and that means baked beans! More specifically, my mom’s molasses baked beans. Sure you can always open up a can, but when you realize just how little effort is involved with making baked beans from start to finish, you’ll wonder why you have never done it before.
Growing up, I always knew when mom was making beans. She would this old brown clay pot that sat on top of a silver burner, plug it into the wall, toss in dried beans, bacon and onions and it would cook overnight. The next morning, she would drain the beans off and place back into the pot with some more onion, molasses, brown sugar and some spice and let them cook all day long. They would be so creamy and tender by supper time.
If you think these molasses baked beans are good with supper, just wait until the next day when they’re cold. You can make friend molasses baked beans sandwiches! You basically make it like you would a grilled cheese using the beans instead of cheese. Although, a piece or two of cheese along with these baked beans would be heavenly! It was one of mom’s favorite ways to use up the leftovers.
Years would go by before I would get my own bean pot, convinced the only way to make good molasses baked beans was the same way she did. There is just something about this old clay pot. Granted you can use a slow cooker, or even cheat and start the dried beans in a pressure cooker, but for me, the nostalgia of my bean pot just makes them taste so much better.
I still start them the way she did, with onions and some sort of bacon. I’ve used regular bacon, pork skin removed from my homemade bacon and salt pork with equal success, basically, if it’s salty, porky goodness, it will work. Using a mixture of blackstrap molasses and honey makes these beans dark and delicious without being super sweet. Keep the seasoning simple with just a bit of salt and pepper, but it is absolutely acceptable to add your favorite seasonings to these beans. Often, I’ll add in a tablespoon or two of whatever BBQ rub I’ve used on the meat to mimic flavor in the beans.
While my favorite beans to use in these molasses baked beans are the small navy beans, I can’t always find them and have made them with great northern beans. Navy beans are smaller in size than the great northern and are more reminiscent of what you would find in the grocery store variety, but great northern seems to be more readily available where I live.
I actually lucked out this last time and found the navy beans, did a little happy dance in the store and bought a couple of bags so that I would have them on hand. They will be making an appearance quite often this summer.
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Black Strap Molasses, honey and some porky goodness makes mom’s molasses baked beans the perfect side for your next BBQ
- 1 lb dried navy or great norther beans
- 1/4 lb bacon (pork skin or salt pork, diced)
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 c black strap molasses
- 1/2 c honey
- salt and pepper
- Sort and rinse the beans.
- Add the beans, bacon and half the onion to a bean pot or slow cooker, cover with two inches of water and let cook on low over night.
- The next morning, drain the beans, reserving about 2 cups of bean liquid.
- Place the beans back into the bean pot or slow cooker.
- Add in the remaining onion, garlic, molasses, honey and season with salt and pepper
- Add in about half a cup of the reserved bean liquid.
- Cover and cook on low all day, adding in some of the reserved bean liquid if needed and stirring occasionally.
- Serve an devour!
I often add in other spices depending on what I’m serving it with. A tablespoon or two of your favorite BBQ rub ups the flavor, but isn’t needed.