2 lbs. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 lb. bacon, 1/2″ cut pieces, fried or baked
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cans (28 oz.) pork and beans
1 can navy beans or Great Northern beans
1 can black beans
1 can butter beans or kidney beans
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp season salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Red hot pepper sauce, to taste, if you would like
Brown the finely diced onion with the lean hamburger while the bacon bakes.
This time I made four bean calico bean casserole but three bean, five bean, whatever variety of beans you would like works. Kidney beans are not my favorite so I add more white beans. Living on the North Dakota prairie, I must tell you there is a one in two chance you are eating North Dakota beans if you are eating edible beans like pinto beans, navy beans, black beans and more.
On our GriggsDakota family farm, we grow and harvest pinto beans which you find in pork and beans. See what a pinto bean field looks like in bloom in the summer and you will know where your beans comes from next time you cook with them.
I rinse the canned beans other than the pork and beans before adding to the slow cooker. Use at least a 5.5 quart slow cooker or Crock Pot. This makes a large recipe to feed at least a dozen people. It saves beautifully and even freezes well. Or cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch.
Add all the beans to the slow cooker and add 1/4 cup of maple syrup. You can use brown sugar as a replacement but I prefer the maple syrup.
Add 1/2 cup ketchup to the bean mixture and 1/2 cup water.
Add Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, season salt and store. Add bacon. Add black pepper and red pepper sauce to taste.
Add browned hamburger with onion and stir together. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stirring occasionally.
Our family plus Nana and Grandpa Eldon had Smoky Maple Bacon & Beef n’ Beans with brats and fruit salad the other night. I’ve served huge crowds with this recipe at family gathering, barbecues and picnics.
Thank you to my grandma for being the inspiration whenever I make a version of this recipe. I love making food the reminds me of her. I’m not a tenth of the cook she is but I can make mix together canned beans to make a casserole. And I am grateful for farmers like my parents who remind us all where the beans come from, family farms.
What’s your favorite summer picnic recipe?