Baked Pork and Beans

We love baked beans with smoked pork here at Shady Grove Ranch! This recipe is thick, sweet, and has a tiny little kick that gives you just what you’re looking for in a baked beans recipe. Serve it alongside our 100% grass-fed beef hamburgers, or use it as a main course! Though it takes 2 days to prepare, it freezes well and is a pretty low-maintenance recipe.

Boston-style Baked Beans with Pork

4 C Navy or Pinto beans
1 pound fresh pork bacon, jowls, hock, or ham. For bone-in cuts, use 2 pounds.
Salt and sugar (preferably natural)
Liquid Smoke (the MSG-free kind)

Day 1:

Rinse beans and cover with water in a large pot. Add a touch of vinegar to aid in sprouting and set aside for 24 hours.

Place fresh pork in closely-fitting glass dish. (The closer the dish fits, the less brine you’ll need to cover it.) Here’s where you’ll have to do a little experimenting… For the brine, you need 2 parts sugar, 1 part salt, and enough water to cover the meat. I usually mix about 1/4 C sugar and 1/8 C salt in 1 quart  jar of HOT water. Shake to dissolve the salt and sugar, then pour over the meat in the dish. Add water to cover. *If you have to add a lot of water (aka more than 1 cup or so), you may need to add some more salt and sugar. Taste the brine–it shouldn’t be so strong that it’s yucky-tasting, but it should not be too watery, either. Sprinkle a generous amount of liquid smoke onto the meat (enough so you can really smell the smoke), cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 2:

2 onions, finely diced
1/4+2 Tbs Molasses
1 Tbs + 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 can tomato sauce
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. brown sugar

Place pork and brine into bean pot with beans and soaking water. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1-3 hours until beans are tender, but not falling apart. Meat should also be tender at this point.*Reserve cooking water.*

Debone meat and shred it (however you chop/shred it up at this point is how it will end up in the final dish, so choose your size accordingly). Set aside.

Place beans in 2 9×13 glass casseroles, layering evenly with onion and chopped meat and dividing cooking water into each dish. Liquid should just cover beans and meat. Add more water if necessary.

Mix other ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Pour evenly over beans.

Bake 1-2 hours at 375 F. Sauce should be nice and thick. If too much liquid evaporates during baking, add more water. Don’t let the beans dry out.

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