This makes a HUGE pot of beans-perfect for a party or a tailgate event. (Probably serves 30) Just scale back the ingredients if you want to make less servings. And if you don't like an ingredient...leave it out and add more of something else. Sometimes I use a mixture of different kinds of canned beans.
COOKING TIP: ALWAYS drain and rinse canned beans (except chili beans or pork and beans) since canned beans like black beans or pinto beans are packed in some "mystery-slimey" liquid.
Preheat oven to approx. 375 degrees.
1 or 2 large onions-finely diced
4 cloves garlic-finely minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup catsup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar (or to taste)
OPTIONAL...1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste (I think I added this. It helps to thicken the beans, and if you like that robust tomato flavor in beans...go for it! You could also substitute an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce for less tomato flavor.)
In an ovenproof pot, brown the diced bacon until crispy, and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Dump diced onions into bacon fat (YUM!) and saute until softened. Then add minced garlic and stir for several minutes. DO NOT let garlic burn! Return bacon to the pot and add ALL the other ingredients and stir well. Taste, and adjust seasonings.
Bake covered until boiling, then stir and let cook and thicken. If the beans get TOO thick, just add a little water or chicken broth and stir. I suggest stirring about every half hour. I try to cook my beans for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours...or more. The longer they cook, the more the flavors "marry". You can also LOWER THE HEAT to 300 degrees after they start to boil if you want to simmer them low and slow. Just be sure to stir once in awhile. ENJOY!
Whenever you are cooking bacon and onions for a recipe...ALWAYS cook the bacon FIRST before you add the onions. Otherwise the bacon will only steam and never get brown and crispy! And ALWAYS cook the onion before you add the garlic. It will help to keep the garlic from burning in the pan.