St. John Valley

Morgan’s Recipe Series: Dobie’s Baked Beans

MADAWASKA, Maine — Red, white, and blue, it’s time for a Fourth of July barbecue! Do you know what you’re going to take to that potluck, or what you’re going to cook to wow your friends as you host the best Fourth of July party the Valley has seen? No? Don’t worry, this Texas girl has got you covered. Remember, I come from the state where barbecue isn’t just a cook-out, it’s a food group.

Down in Texas, the Fourth of July isn’t much different than it is up here. There are still fireworks, bon fires, beers, and watermelons; family, friends and acquaintances you kindled a friendship with at that block party. What is different? The food. But I have it on good authority that the following recipes are some that even traditional Acadians are sure to love.

First up, we have Dobie’s baked beans. Now these are really simple. The recipe comes from my Aunt Joni Wagner, who has been called Dobie by many since before I can remember. She made these heavenly beans at her former restaurant in Ashgrove, Missouri, a town over from where Little House on the Prairie was filmed.

Also born a Texan and transplanted to another state, Dobie never let her Texas side fade away from who she is as a person. Deep rooted in her Southern cooking ways, Dobie never measures anything — a trait she learned from Granny, my great-grandmother.

“Just do it ‘til it looks right,” she would say as I tried to make food to feed the masses at her restaurant for Sunday dinner. I would then argue that you can’t expect it to come out the same for each person if there aren’t any measurements. So this is how we measure the ingredients for Dobie’s baked beans (translation to follow):

You will need to grease a pan, one big can of baked beans with the juice mostly drained off, a small bottle of ketchup and add just enough to make the beans look reddish-brown, then you’ll add about half a small package of brown sugar, and finally put some chopped bacon on top, but make sure it is chopped and not whole, “otherwise, someone will dip into it and take a whole piece of bacon. Chop it so this way, it is fair.” Then you put it in the oven heated to 425 degrees fahrenheit until the bacon blackens on the edge to give it “the right flavor.”  


For a single batch, you will need:

— A greased pan
— A gallon of baked beans
— 16 ounce bottle of ketchup (you will use the whole thing)
— 2 cups of brown sugar
— About 5 slices of bacon (not the turkey kind, trust me) cut up so “it is fair.”

You will need to:

— Preheat the oven to 425 F
— Add the first three ingredients together and stir
— Place the cut bacon so it covers the top
— Bake it uncovered for an hour (but seriously, keep it in there until the bacon on the edges blackens)
— Let it cool before serving as it will be super hot

This recipe is straight from Granny and will make about 20-25 servings. The best part of this delicious, crowd-pleaser is that each batch costs around $7. That’s about 35 cents a serving, making this recipe a summer success.

For this recipe, however, I used four 20 oz. cans of baked beans because that was what I found at the store. Just make sure you alter the recipe accordingly, and “just do it ‘til it looks right.”

Morgan’s Recipe Series is an occasional column to bring recipes from all over the United States to the Valley for all sorts of holidays and family functions.

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