Calico Beans

The long awaited recipe is here!  (okay maybe not as exciting as all that – but numerous health difficulties prevented me from getting this up sooner)  It is a good one for potlucks and picnics, or just because they are delicious.

It is also very simple, though it does take a little time.  The key to delicious beans is the pork bone and meat (sorry if that offends anyone, but smoked turkey isn’t the same).  Bacon is traditional, the odd pork chop leftover – if you didn’t use my leftover avoidance technique, and the tops is the bone from a roast pork or ham.  You can also brown up some ground beef or mild sausage (or other ground meat or meat substitute) and make it like non-toxic chili – very kid-friendly! (a combination of those listed makes stellar calico beans)

This recipe does call for one cheat – canned beans.  If you have some on hand or use a pressure cooker, by all means use home cooked beans (or you can cook some the old-fashioned way on the back of the stove while you are cooking something else). Depends on how much time you have and how well you have planned ahead.  Anytime you use canned beans, drain and rinse them.

For every 4 servings you need:

  • 4 cans of different kinds of beans (I use black beans, pinto beans, and small white beans), any combination your family will eat
  • 2 cans of no additive or organic baked beans (or 4 cups of homemade baked beans)
  • 2 cups browned ground beef (or other meat) drained
  • 1/2 pound bacon (preferably nitrate-free or uncured), cooked and chopped
  • 1 pork or ham bone
  • 2 Tbsp. homemade or organic ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 stick butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Note:  A lot of seasonings are to taste; I tend to do a handful of this and a few squirts of that.  Just taste and adjust and remember that it’s easier to add than to take away.


Add everything except salt and pepper to a Dutch oven (or larger if needed) pot.  Let it boil and then allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  Cook it until the beans are softer, but not mushy.  Season with salt and pepper, remove bone, and serve.


  1. Hi Dave

    Yesterday I read this recipe and prepared for my breakfast. I gave some of it to my neighbor. You know what, she couldn’t stop asking for more. Thanks for sharing your cooking secrets.

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