Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She would have been 102 years old. If my sweet Nannie would have lived this long, I assure you, she would still be in the kitchen at 102. And her cookin’ would still taste great! She shined in the kitchen- her chicken and dumplings, pear preserves, seafood gumbo, pound cake. The list goes on. She also shined in the classroom as a teacher, at the sewing machine as a meticulous seamstress, and as a grandmother who showed us how much she loved us through the food she made for us. And we so loved her back. What I wouldn’t give to spend one more day in the kitchen with her–really paying attention to everything she did, instead of just inhaling everything she made!
I’ve shared this in my cookbook and on this blog before; a few years ago, my mother gave me something I’ll treasure forever–her collection of cookbooks and recipes that included my Nannie’s, too. In the collection was a little yellow binder with a hand drawn cover that had come loose, but was still lying on top of the book. It’s my nannie’s hand written recipe book that holds the ingredients and instructions of some our family favorites. In the book, there are so many dishes that were a part of my upbringing-eggplant casserole, fruit cake, shrimp creole, my sister’s favorite dessert, to name a few, and this recipe for baked beans, given to my nannie by a fellow teacher, Miss Jordan.
I can’t tell you how much I love these beans, how much Charlie loves these beans, how much my neighbors love these beans, our entire family. At the risk of overselling them…well, I think I’ve already done that…there’s nothing like ’em. We’re going over to some friends house tomorrow for a cookout and these beans are baking in the oven right now to take with us. I realize this offering is late and you’ve probably already made plans for your menu, but I wanted to share because so many folks barbecue on Labor Day and this is a perfect side dish, plus the timing of the day was perfect too-Sept. 3rd. I hope one of our family favorites becomes one of yours. Happy Labor Day and Happy Birthday, Nannie.
- 2 (28 ounce) cans baked beans, drained (I use Bush's Original)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark Karo syrup or table syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (I like Kraft's Original)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder (may add more to taste)
- 4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (recipe calls for 3 tablespoons-I just put less)
- 6 slices bacon, sliced into bite sized pieces
- Pour drained beans into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Add in remaining ingredients except the bacon and stir well to combine.
- Lay bacon pieces evenly across top of dish. Bake uncovered at 250 degrees for 4 hours until deep brown.
- Turn oven off and allow beans to stay in oven until oven has cooled.
- I've cooked these a couple of different ways--per the original directions (4 hours at 250 degrees) and when I didn't have that much time, at a higher temp for a couple hours. But I always let them remain in the oven after cooking to thicken up a bit as they cool. You can reduce the amount of brown sugar and or syrup if you want a less sweet taste. I've done that before, too. And I've added more chili powder to kick up the spice.