Barbecue Beans With A Touch of Loves by Larry Andersen

Barbecue Beans

With A Touch Of Love's

Anyone who grew up in California, 1950’s through the 1980’s, is probably familiar with Love’s Barbecue. Their jingle, “When you’re in Love’s… the whole world is delicious,” is famous. As a very young boy Love’s is where I first learned to enjoy barbecue. My usual order was their sampler plate with coleslaw and Love’s barbecued beans. It has been more years ago than I care to count since last I tasted the goodness of Love’s. Thinking about it one day started a hunger for some Love’s. Sadly, there are no more Love’s left operating in the States. A bit of internet research found that a lot of people are hungering for some Love’s barbecued beans; a lot of taste-alike recipes.

I took notes from a lot of web sites and a lot of recipes. There were a lot of intriguing combinations seeking that signature Love’s flavor. I made a list of items I would choose to use and noted the smallest to largest amount the others had used in their recipes and I added a few of my own. It wasn’t so much that I wanted a clone recipe but one that was very similar, one that I could add my personal touch; inspired by Love’s but not an all out copy.

I have always had good luck with Great Northern beans and was an easy choice. For a while I was going to make it a pressure cooker recipe but at long last opted for the tried and true slow crock pot method and that is why I precook the beans a bit first. The onions and the pork were not part if the Love’s beans. I added them for personal taste. When the beans went into the crock pot I laid out all of my additions in the “smallest” amount. I added them to the pot and tasted the result. Like some old witch at her cauldron, I added a bit more of this and some more of that until I was at least temporarily satisfied with the result. Each hours stirring would be a little more of this and some more of that.

When the cooking was all over and done with I had a delicious barbecued beans dish, good hot or cold, and the flavor is very reminiscent of what I remember about Love’s. The beans are firm but tender and the sauce rich and thick. At my age memory can be erratic so I would appreciate it if you would try them and let me know just how close they are to those long ago Love’s barbecued beans. And remember, the whole world will be delicious.

Preparation: Prep: 1 hr, crock pot 6 hours Life Experience Recipe
Makes 3 quarts of beans
  • 1 pound dried beans (Great Northern or Navy)
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth (about 4 cups)
  • ½ white onion, finely diced
  • ¾ cup chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke®
  • 2 lean loin pork chops, grilled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Sort through beans, removing any field debris. Place in large pan and cover by 2-inches with cool water. Place in refrigerator overnight; a minimum of 12 hours. The next day drain beans in a colander removing the soaking water and then rinse beans well. Place bean in a medium-sized pot that has a removable lid. Add chicken broth and enough water that beans are covered by about 2 inches. Finely previously grilled loin pork chops, finely dice onion and mince garlic; add to the beans; season with a few good turns of fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat. Partially cover with a lid and adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Add a quart of water to your crock pot. Heat the water in the cock pot on the low setting to preheat the crock liner. When the beans have finished simmering, drain the water from the crock pot and add the beans and cooling liquid to the crockpot.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except corn starch. Heat on HIGH setting until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for two hours and then reduce the heat to LOW setting and cook an additional 3 to 4 hours or until beans are tender. About every hour check mixture to see there is at least a half inch of liquid over the top. Give a good stir. Taste the cooking liquid; it will be an indication of what the beans will taste like. Add additional seasonings or flavors to personal taste.
  4. During the last two hours of cooking, make a water slurry with the cornstarch and add to the cooking mixture. Stir to combine well. Continue to cook until beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Return to Cookbook Contents Page
Latest revision done October 2013
Counter courtesy of WebCounter