Hart Stillwell's Baked Beans

Hart Stillwell, a frontier novelist, made a rough version of these beans over campfires while on fishing and hunting trips.

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  • 2 pounds cooked navy beans or other white beans
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (or less)
  • 3/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 4 slices slab bacon, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a baking dish.
  3. Bake the beans, uncovered, about 1 1/2 hours, or until they have thickened and cooked down, with a "skin" just beginning to form on the top of the beans.


If you like beans less sweet, reduce the amount of brown sugar.

These beans reheat well and keep refrigerated for several days.