Baked beans for A BIG CROWD!!!

I was asked to help with side dishes for a Newcomers Lunch at church today.  We agreed that I’d make baked beans (which was super exciting, because I wanted to practice them before I make them for 300 people in a couple of weeks).   They told me to make enough for 45 servings.   Well, I’ve never made this big of a batch of baked beans from dried beans (MUCH MORE economical than using canned beans) before.   And when I’ve made this recipe in the past, I’ve always done it by taste, not by measurement.   I wanted to measure everything out this time.   SO, I started looking up recipes online to see how many pounds of dried beans I’d need for 50 servings of baked beans.   I found a couple of different recipes that said 7#.   Well, let me tell you!   That 7 pounds of white beans mostly filled my 18 quart roaster!  That isn’t 50 servings, it is 72 cups of beans, which is 144 servings (a real serving of beans is 1/2 cup).   Of course I didn’t realize any of this until this morning, when they were completely done cooking!!!!   Oh well, at least now I know that I don’t have to worry too much about getting another roaster for making the 300 servings in a couple of weeks.  Between my roaster and the roaster at the church, we’ll be good to go 🙂

Ok, so here’s enough baked beans to fill an 18 quart roaster.   And these baked beans are SOOOOO good!!!!!   This recipe is inspired by my dear friend Serina’s baked beans.  She starts hers from canned pork & beans,  and I used smoked ham hocks to flavor the cooking beans.

Baked Beans FOR A CROWD

By Lori4squaremom as inspired by Serina Richert

  • 7# dried white beans, rinsed & sorted
  • 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1# bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
  • 5 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 18 oz. bottles spicy bbq sauce
  • 64 oz. bottle catsup
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup molasses (I use the bold flavor molasses)
  • 1 pound brown sugar

Divide beans into 3 (6-8 quart stockpots) and soak overnight.   Drain and rinse.

In the morning, place drained beans into 18 quart roaster and barely cover with water and nestle ham hocks into the beans.   Add salt & onions and let cook on 400 degrees for 2 hours or until the beans are mostly cooked through (they shouldn’t be completely soft, but not too crispy either, think al dente :)).   You want to drain off enough water so that the water level is just below the level of the beans.   Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl (bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, molasses & brown sugar) then pour over the beans.   Add the crispy cooked bacon pieces and mix it all together very well!   Cook at 200 degrees for 8-12 hours.  The color will change from a pale to a nice rich dark color similar to bbq sauce and the flavor will develop to a very deep nice flavor.

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