I can taste the baked beans already. The bacon simmering atop a large pan full of the delicious delights.

It is the Fourth of July week and baked beans are on the picnic menu.

What Fourth of July backyard picnic would be complete without baked beans being offered atop the checkered tablecloths atop picnic tables that have seen their better days? Sitting right next to the fried chicken, hot dogs and brats are the beans ready to be devoured by even those who said they don't like beans.

My wife's baked beans have made a liar out of many who said they detested beans of any kind.

My brother was one of them until he finally saw the light of day. I can't blame him really. He accompanied my wife and me on a number of fishing excursions in his pre-teen years. One of the staples on the table most nights would be a serving of beans. When we attended a fishing contest banquet, it was usually a bean and hot dog menu that faced him.

One look at the serving table featuring beans and hot dogs would send him to the parking lot while uttering an "Ugh!" along the way.

But things have changed. Just like I needed to develop a sense of taste for the fruit of the North - lutefisk - my brother had to develop a taste for well-prepared baked beans. And, he has. At our last get-together, he was the first to ask if my wife had brought her famous baked beans. I watched with amazement as he dug in and smiled as he downed his share. The pan went home almost empty.

I call them "Jackie Jeanne's Super Baked Beans" because my wife is famous for them almost the world over. Well, OK, she's famous for them in our family and friend circles.

My mother, Millie, had a great recipe and I watched her pull that simmering pan full of beans from our wood-fired cookstove many times as the aroma permeated that Iowa farmhouse. My dad was warned in no uncertain terms not to dig into them prematurely. It was so tempting to him after doing morning chores. But, he knew which side the bread was buttered on and he resisted.

Jackie's baked bean recipe is just too good to keep to ourselves; hence, in celebration of Independence Day, fireworks and watermelon, I'm giving you the recipe right here and now. If you do it right, you will create a following and you will also become famous among your peers. Here it is:



Jackie Jeanne's Super Baked Beans

Use 3 quart roasting pan

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cans of baked beans, any brand
  • 1 package chopped bacon
  • 1 medium to large chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (can leave out)



Stir ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 1-3 hours uncovered. The longer you bake, the thicker the beans. Cover and serve!



Now you have it. If you do it right, you'll have people of all ages clamoring at the picnic table and you will return home with an empty pan.

And, your digestive tract will thank you in ways that we all know. Better to head for the outdoors after a meal of the Super Baked Beans!

See you next time and have a wonderful Fourth of July!