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  • River Bard Farm

Bostonazoo Baked Beans

One of the best things about a cut-to-order hog its that you get the literal WHOLE HOG back, unless you specify otherwise. Pigs are truly "nose-to-tail" eating, but if you don't know what to do with fatback or feet, at least put your bacon ends to good use. What usually happens to these delicious hunks of smoked pork belly? I've never seen this cut in the store. It remains a mystery, but these hunks of smoked pork belly shouldn't be overlooked simply because they refuse to cooperate with the bacon slicer. They are perfect for adding to baked beans, which brings us here, to our favorite baked bean recipe. Wondering about the name? I'm not native to Massachusetts, and while their beans are famous, this Midwestern transplant finds them overly molasses-ey and missing that mandatory tang of this ubiquitous Michigan potluck dish. This recipe thus starts with a decent Boston baked beans recipe, and adds ingredients to make it taste right, like the family recipe from my Kalamazoo relatives. Great news is that this can all be tossed in a crock pot, set to low, and left overnight. If you have less than a dozen people to feed, cut it in half.

3 15-oz cans tomato sauce

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

6 T yellow mustard

5 T apple cider vinegar

5 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)

1 T garlic powder

1 T salt (to taste)

2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 cups water

2 16-oz bags of Navy beans (or other small, white beans). Sort, rinse, and soak overnight!

2 green bell peppers, diced

3 onions, diced

1 lb. bacon ends, trimmed of excess fat and cubed

Whisk together tomato sauce, other liquid ingredients, spices, and water. Add peppers, onion, beans and bacon, and stir until mixed. Cook in crock pot on low at least 8 hours, or until beans change to a brown color and are very tender.

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