Baked beans make a great side dish at a barbecue, but cooking something a long time in a hot oven during summer isn't fun. Christine Gallary of the CHOW Test Kitchen has an easier way: Just throw the ingredients into a slow cooker and walk away. Using our Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe she demonstrates how to make a perfect pot of creamy, not-too-sweet beans every time.
How to Cook Basic Beans with Steve Sando
Steve Sando, bean impresario behind Rancho Gordo, outlines the steps from beans in a bag to glorious pot o’ beans. Dried beans may not be fresh, per se, but the ones you're using shouldn’t be more than two years old. Soak them first, and then use the soaking water to cook them. A quick, hard boil followed by a long, slow simmer will get them cooked up right. (Click here for Steve's bean-cooking recipe.)