I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. When I married, we moved to Northeast Missouri. And that was my introduction to Old Settlers Days. It seems like all the small towns had them, celebrating the people who had settled their community.
I assume this baked bean dish was a contribution to potlucks that took place during Old Settlers Days.
There are lots of versions of this type of bean–I have seen them called Cowboy Beans for instance. There’s a whole lot more to these baked beans than beans.
This is Steve’s family version. It was included in several community cookbooks that I have seen, and it is a standard for us. But, we like it so much, we eat it almost like chili, rather than just a side dish.
And since it starts with a good amount of beef and pork, you can see how hearty it is. The recipe says 1/2 1b ground beef. I use a pound when I am making it as a main dish, browning it and seasoning with salt and pepper.
While that is browning I slice up a 1b of bacon. Again, the recipe says 1/2 1b, but what’s the fun in that?
Once the meat is browned I remove it to a bowl and add the bacon and 1 medium diced onion. There’s a fine point to be reached in the browning of the bacon. If it is too crisp, it will overbake with the beans. I actually didn’t brown the bacon quite as much as I should have this time. Once the bacon is browned enough, add back the ground beef and just let them simmer a bit while putting the rest of the dish together.
First up are the three cans of beans. 1 can of pork and beans, one of dark red kidney beans, one of great northern beans. The recipe calls for a can of butter beans, but it is hard to find the small ones here and all I can find is usually the large lima beans. I don’t like them, so I substituted. No need to drain the beans.
In the tradition of barbecue in this area, there’s sugar. 1/3 cup each of white and brown sugar, along with some chili powder.
There’s also molasses, bbq sauce, and mustard.
Then basically everything gets mixed together and poured into a casserole dish and baked at 350 Fahrenheit for 1 hour.
What goes with baked beans? Why, cornbread of course!
A bowl of beans, a wedge of cornbread, and local honey, and it’s dinner.
Old Settlers Baked Beans
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 14 1/2 oz can red kidney beans
1 14 1/2 oz can pork and beans
1 14 1/2 oz can butter beans (I use Great Northern, White Beans, or Cannelini in a pinch)
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup white sugar
1/4 Cup bbq sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 T mustard
1 T molasses
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Brown ground beef, drain off fat if very fatty. Brown bacon to just short of crisp, and brown the onions along with the bacon. Add them back together and let them simmer a bit while you mix together the other ingredients.
In a large bowl mix together the beans. No need to drain the beans. Mix together the sugars and chili powder, then add the bbq sauce, mustard and molasses. Add to the beans and mix well, then stir in the beef and bacon.
Pour into a large casserole dish and bake for one hour.