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.