Baking up beans for 100

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Assistant Cook
Jun 6, 2022
Hello everyone! Any help/thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated! I am helping to “cater” my sister’s backyard wedding BBQ dinner. What I’m trying to figure out here is the best way to prepare, ahead of time, and to serve baked beans. Here are some of my questions:
  • Should I bake the beans in the oven ahead of time and then reheat in crockpot on the day of the wedding? I worry about them turning to mush… This also means that I will need room in my fridge to keep them overnight :ermm:
  • Should I just prep all ingredients and then cook in crockpot on the day of the wedding? This seems like the best route to take, however most recipes recommend baking in the oven to get the caramelization. I’m just not sure how imperative this is in my particular situation?
Both ideas above assume that I will be serving out of crockpots at the reception. Alternatively, I do have a roaster oven. Should I prepare the beans a day ahead and cook in oven during wedding ceremony and then transfer to roaster oven to serve out of and keep warm during reception?
Again, I welcome all thoughts and suggestions your experience might offer! :)
Thank you,
Semi-Stressed Sister of the Bride
I would start dried Great Northerns, and Navy beans the day before, cooking them in salted water until tender. The salted water insures a creamy inner texture with a firm skin that maintais its integrity. When the beans are done, drain, and place in your electric roasting pan. It's preferable to a slow cooker because you can control the heat settin. Add your chopped onion, smoked ham hocks, ans sweeyeners of choice, usually dark brown sugar, and either molasses, or maple.

Sugars pull moisture out of foods, so make sure the beans are a little saucy for the long cooking time tequired to infuse flavor into the beans. Also, there will be some water evaporation. The ind rrsult will be thick, rich pan of beans. Prepared mustard also adds eonderful flavor to baked beans. Just add a little at a time. You can always add more if needed. But if you add too much, you can't take it out. Chili powder also enhances baked beans, again, just a little at a time. Cook the beans at 275 degrees F. Serve at 145 dgrees. Your electric roaster will let you get those temps. You csn cook the beans the day before, if you can quickly chill them by placing the cooking vessel in an ice water bath, and storing in a refrigerator. Then reheat to 145 dgrees for serving. This will meet safe serve rules. and protect everyone. Have a bucket of water, with a lite bleach in it to steralize serving spoons.

I hope this helps.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Baking up Beans for 100

@Chief Longwind Of The North:

Wow! Lots of great information there, thank you!! The only other thing I forgot to mention earlier is that I have to transport the food 1 1/2 hours away. I think I'll start the cooking at home and then turn the roaster back on when I get there. I can always plug it in in the van as well. Great idea about the water bath for the beans! ^5 :)
For the long drive, wrap the inner pan of the electric roaster with aluminum.foil. shiny side in, the with fluffy towels, or a very insulating blanket. This will minimize temperature change. You could also place the pans into cheap, styropfam coolers with dry ice, then heat at the reception. Those roasters will hold about 3 gallons of cooked food. Turn the pan up to about 350 to heat the beans from cold. Stir frequently, making sure to scrape the sides. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temp. After the beans reach 145, reduce temp setting to 145. Remove the smoked ham hocks. Take all of thr meat and fat from the bones. Dice and put back into the beans.

I hope you have great success at the recrption. Just out of curiosity, what are you serving besides beans? I would serve a refreshing cole slaw to contrast with the rich beans. I think the sweet and sour flavor would work perfectly.

Here's a recipe for a very simple, but refreshing amd tasty slaw. Simply multiply the ingredients to make as much as is needed.

1 head green cabbage
1 head purple cabbage
1 large white onion
4 carrots
Miricle Whip salad dressing
Ice water

Peel and mince the onion. Peel and grate the carrots. Wash and grate the cabbage (a food processor with a grating blade make greating fast and easy). . Mix these together thoroughly. Add enogh salad dressing to coat the veggies (about a half cup). Stir to combine all. Fold in a half cup of ice water. Cover and refrigerate over night to let flavors blend. If you want, you can add chopped walnuts, raisins, diced apples, or craisins to your slaw.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
@Chief Longwind of the North:
Again, thank you very much for all of your helpful advice! I’m leaning towards taking them up cold and warming once there. I’ll have about 4 hours before serving time to get them up to temp. Just have to wait and see how much room I have in the fridge to keep them in there overnight :ermm: As far as other sides, my Mom is in charge of making potato salad and I’m going to add a veggie pasta salad for those that don’t eat meat. We’re grilling up hamburgers and hotdogs (it’s a very casual backyard wedding). Your recipe for coleslaw sounds great; I will be sure to save it for my next bbq potluck affair! Thanks again!

Very good to know! Thanks for chiming in :)

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