Baked beans are comforting, satisfying, and a great side to grilled or barbecued meats. While they’re usually baked in the oven, it’s even easier to throw everything in the slow cooker instead. Smoky bacon, navy beans, onion, and a few sweet ingredients like molasses, ketchup, and brown sugar are stirred together and slow-cooked until the beans are tender and the sauce thickens. The beans taste better the longer they sit, so make them a day or two ahead or freeze for later.
There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap. Dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this recipe. Molasses can be found in the baking aisle at grocery stores.
1lb dry white beans
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2lb salt pork cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2″ of water. Soak overnight and drain.
Mix the molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and cloves with the tomato paste, chicken broth, and hot water.
Line the bottom of the slow cooker with half the salt pork (choose the fattiest pieces). Layer over it with half of the dried beans. Add all of the onions and garlic in a layer, then top with the remaining beans and remaining salt pork. Pour the water/tomato sauce mixture over the beans.
Cover and cook in the slow cooker on low for 8-12 hours, or until the beans are tender. Check the water level a few hours in. If the beans need more water, add some. Add salt to taste if needed.