G.W.'s Baked Great Lakes Style Baked Beans:
Now we know that Boston is beantown, and that they use mollases exclusively to add that wonderful flavor to Boston Baked beans. But that isn't the only kind of sweetener that goes well with the little legumes (did you know that in California, beans are sometimes reffered to as "barking spyder eggs
Here in Great Lakes country, we have lots of maple trees. So, every now and again, for a treat, we use pure, grade b maple syrup to sweeten the beans.
So here's how I make them.
1 quart of either uncooked Great Northern, or Navy beans
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grade b maple syrup
1/ cup dark brown brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. prepared yellow mustard
1 lb. of your choice - maple cured bacon, smoky ham, smoked ham hocks, or jowls, or fresh boston Butt roast, with bone.
Wash the beans in running water and place into a 3 quart pot. Cover with water so that there are two inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain. Add fresh water, again so that it fill the pot 2 inches above the beans and bring to a boil. Add the salt, cover and let simmer for an hour. Test the beans. They need to be soft, not almost soft. If they are not tender, cook another ten to twenty minutes and retest.
While the beans are cooking, slice the meat into bite-sized chunks and lightly brown them in a pan. Remove from heat and let cool.
When the beans are soft, drain any excess water from the pot. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir, cover and place in a crock pot, or in the oven, covered, and bake or slow cook for about three hours. Stir every half hour or so. If you desire, you can add just a bit of liquid smoke to the pot.
After you have made these beans, you can play with the flavors by adding barbecue sauce, or a bit of tomato paste. Worcestershire sauce also work in baked beans. Of course you can use molasses instead of maple syrup. I've had some very good beans that were primarily Boston style, but with a bit of chili powder added.
But whatever flavor you like best, it is essential that the beans be very tender before adding any acid containing ingredients, such as prepared mustard, vinegar, catchup, tomato, etc. The acid reacts with the protein in the beans to make them hard, and they just won't soften after that.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North