Do you ever fantasize about what it would be like to live on a desert island?
I wonder, if I was there for a really long time, how much technology would my companions and I be able to figure out? Would we build houses? How long does it take to figure out how to forage steel? Build cars?
It sounds a little ridiculous, but if you think about it, there’s someone out there who built a car today. There are people who actually know how to do these things.
Culinarily speaking, it is sometimes hard to believe there are people who make things like ketchup or cheese. I would love to make my own ketchup or cheese, but the effort doesn’t seem worth it when there are experts out there who are doing it every day.
Along those same lines, it never occurred to me until recently that I could make my own baked beans. They don’t need to come in a can!
I broke a classic rule of hosting a party by trying this recipe the first time for my son’s first birthday party. I was concerned that they wouldn’t be good because I made them the day before and then reheated them in the oven for the party. I had nothing to be afraid of, and they were a big hit. The recipe below can feed quite a crowd, so feel free to cut it in half if you’re just making it for your family.
By the way, these beans are awesome. This was my first experience with salt pork and I’m definitely going to be finding more excuses to use it. Don’t let cooking beans from scratch deter you from trying this recipe. Much of it is unattended soaking or cooking, and people will be very impressed that you are one of those people who knows how to make baked beans. Unless maybe they know how to make cars.
- Place beans in a large pot and cover with 12 cups of cold water. Let soak 8 hours or overnight. Remove any beans that float. Drain, then cover generously with fresh water in the same pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer slowly, covered, until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Grease a large casserole dish.
- Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the beans in the prepared casserole dish along with the water, onion, molasses, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and salt. Mix gently to combine. Top with the sliced salt pork.
- Bake, covered, 3 hours. Uncover and cook another 1 to 1 ½ hours. If they begin to look dry add a little of the reserved cooking liquid.