Classic Baked Beans (Shortcut Method)
Yes I call this a “shortcut” method, but it’s still going to take you at least 5 hours so plan accordingly.
- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 4 ounce thick cut bacon
- 1 onion
- 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- 3 cup tomato juice
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoon molasses
- 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
Put beans in a large bowl; cover with cold water by 2 inches. Loosely cover beans with plastic wrap, and let soak at room temperature 7 to 10 hours. You can alternatively parboil the beans in water enough water to cover by 2 inches then cool in liquid 1 hour. Drain once cooled and set aside.
If you soaked the beans then drain them now; transfer to a large saucepan. Cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until beans are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid; set beans and liquid aside. If you did not soak them, then cover the parboiled and drained beans with enough water to top them by 2 inches. Simmer beans, partly covered, until just tender, about 1 to 2 hours depending upon age and size of beans; do not overcook.
Cut bacon crosswise into ½‑inch slices. Transfer to a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving rendered fat in the pot. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, reserved bacon, and about 4 cups reserved cooking liquid.
In a medium bowl, mix together tomato juice, ketchup, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, brown sugar, mustard powder, turmeric and cayenne pepper (if using). Pour mixture into beans and stir well.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover, and cook at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 hour. Uncover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. If not serving immediately, let cool completely, and refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 2 days. Reheat beans over medium-low heat before serving.