The great thing about making your own baked beans is that you can add special ingredients that make your baked beans unlike what anyone else makes. Or, you know, just borrow this recipe. Because it's pretty darned good. Besides the usual molasses and tomato product, these beans include maple and bourbon.
Baked beans are great at any large gathering, since they're economical to make in large quantities, they reheat well, they're pretty hard to overcook, so you you leave them on low in a crockpot for serving, and people will think you're a genius if you make your own.
There are some traditional beans used for baked beans, but truthfully you wan use whatever you like. The cooking time will change if you use larger beans, and the color could be different if you use dark beans. But you still have a lot of options. I used an heirloom variety of beans that were a mottled yellow and white that I bought in the bulk sections.
Bourbon and Maple Baked Beans
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
Soak the beans overnight in a sufficient quantity of water to cover the beans several times their volume.
The next day, drain the beans and rinse. Put the beans in your slow cooker, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. Cook on low until the beans are fully cooked - 8-12 hours, depending on the beans and your crockpot. Drain the beans, reserving a cup or two of the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Put the cooked beans into a Dutch oven and add the bacon, onion, celery, ketchup, molasses, maple syrup, and bourbon. Add about a cup of the cooking liquid.
Cover the Dutch oven and put it in your preheated oven. Cook at 325 degrees until the vegetables and bacon are cooked and the beans have absorbed the flavors - about 2 1/2 hours. Add more of the bean cooking liquid or water, as needed, to keep the beans moist. You don't want the soupy, but they should stay moist.