For some reason (I suppose it’s because I am a caterer!), I happened to have an ENORMOUS bag of dried beans that has been “hogging” my cupboard space! I decided I would make a big pot of baked beans in my crockpot for the 4th of July.
1 lb dry navy or soldier beans
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large white onion, quartered
1/4 lb salt pork or slab bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
Place the beans in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover by three inches. Let stand at least 10 hours. Drain and transfer to a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover. Let simmer, adjusting the water level so the beans remain just covered, until the skins open readily, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, whisk together the molasses, vinegar, mustard, sugar, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of water.
Drain the beans. Place the onion in a 2-quart Dutch oven. Add the beans. Cover with the salt pork or bacon. Cover with the molasses mixture. Heat oven to 300° F. Cover Dutch oven and bake, checking often, until the beans are tender, the meat is falling apart, and the liquid is thick and bubbly, about 6 hours. Add more water (or even a second batch of the molasses mixture) if the beans start to dry out. Serve with buttered bread.
Soaking the beans for a few hours before cooking is not necessary but will cut the cooking time.