Make sure to use real maple syrup. I made this for the family and guest and was warned not to change the recipe by the wife lol. You can substitute the canned beans with dried beans but you must soak overnight, boil one hour, then add all of the ingredients and increase the cook time up to 8hrs at 350 degrees. I make this in a earthen/ceramic 2 1/2 quart bean pot. Some people do not like tomatoes in their beans up north. Omit or substitute if you feel the need.
1Open all four cans of beans and separate the liquid. Save the liquid for later. Place half of the beans in the bean pot or slow cooker.
2Dice onion and slice bacon into small pieces. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet until it is almost crispy. Add onions (about one cup) to the bacon and cook until they are soft and translucent. Take all ingredients and set aside. Do not remove or toss the grease.
3Mix the remainder of the ingredients in a small cast iron pot and warm till it just begins to bubble while stirring. Once warm remove from heat.
4Place half of the bacon, onions, and grease on top of the beans that are in the bean pot or slow cooker. Spread evenly to make sure that everything is coated well and making a layer.
5Place half of the ingredients mixture on top of the bacon/onion layer again assuring good coverage.
6Repeat steps 4 & 5 until the 2 1/2 qt pot is nearly full.
7Pour canned bean stock water into the pot until the either the beans are covered or you are within 1/2 inch of the top. Save remaining water and top off as necessary if more water is needed.
8Wipe underside of bean lid and pot lid ring with crisco to prevent baked beans from sealing the pot close. That is a good way to break a pot (trying to open it while stuck).
9Place pot in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees on top of a baking sheet with at least one inch walls to prevent spillage/overflow in the oven. I use a pizza stone for this. Cook for three hours at 300 degrees and check the water level every hour and remember to clean your lid before replacing it. Stir the beans each time that you check it with the opposite end (thin end) of a wooden spoon so as to mix it well and not crush the beans. If you add too much water the grease will be on top and flow out of the pot onto your heating element thus creating a fire/smoke issue or possibly burning out your element. If using a slow cooker then cook on high for three hours.
10Remove bean pot and enjoy. Keeps well for about thirty minutes in pot atop stove. This is why I use the pizza stone versus the baking sheet. It helps keep it hot.