Sweet and smoky baked beans are really popular in south Georgia. You can find them as a side dish at lots of restaurants and on the table at many potlucks. This recipe is made from scratch and has just the right balance of bacon, molasses, brown sugar, and liquid smoke. These beans are a little sweet, so if you like them more savory just cut back on the sugar by 1/2 cup.
Cook the beans with the low-and-slow technique and they will turn out perfect. When they’re done, the beans will have a rich copper color like a penny. Make these sweet and smoky baked beans for your next potluck the night before, as the flavors will improve overnight.
It might come as a surprise to some of you, but there are many good folks in my town along the coast that love to serve homemade baked beans as one of their many side dishes at Thanksgiving. If you have never had it on your menu for gratitude day, I encourage you to change things up and make it.Print
Sweet and smoky baked beans are made from scratch and have just the right balance of bacon, molasses, brown sugar, and liquid smoke in them.
- 4 large yellow onions, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 strips smoked bacon
- 7 15.5 ounce cans navy beans
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup white sugar, reserve 1/2 cup to use after cooking for one hour
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup prepared mustard
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large pot, fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent and tender.
- On a large plate, place five strips of bacon on two thicknesses of paper towel. Cover it with one thickness of paper towel and cook in the microwave on high for 4 minutes. Check, if necessary, cook one more minute. Repeat the process with the next 5 strips of bacon. Blot the grease off the bacon, and let cool. Tear into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
- Drain 6 of the cans of navy beans in a colander, 3 cans at a time, and rinse them well in cold water. Pour all the beans and the liquid from the seventh can into the pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to your big pot. Right now, only add 1 cup of the white sugar. Stir well.
- On the second lowest heat, simmer the baked beans with the lid on tight for one hour. Stir every 15 minutes to prevent the bottom from overcooking.
- Next, taste the baked beans. If they’re not sweet enough, add the reserved 1/2 cup of white sugar and stir.
- Simmer this time on your stove’s lowest setting for two more hours with the lid on, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Baked beans freeze really well, so if you have any left overs, just put some away for another time.
- This is also a great side dish to make ahead, with the intention of freezing, to eventually give to a family you know that needs a meal brought to them because of sickness, welcoming a new baby, or because they are moving.