Great Great Northern Beans

No one can cook beans like my hubby! Great northerns are my fave.


  • 1 pkg. jowl bacon*
  • 1 lb. Great Northern beans
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  • 4 - 6 quarts water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp. salt (can use garlic or seasoned salt, if desired)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp each rosemary, marjoram, any other savory spices you like
  • 1/2 Tbsp pepper (black, white, or red, according to your preference)

*You may use 1 pkg. smoked turkey tails or omit meat for a vegetarian recipe. You just won't get the same flavor.


Fill a six-quart pot with water, to about 1 1/2 or 2 inches from top (will cook down). Drop in jowl bacon, cut into chunks, if you prefer.

Filter beans through your hand, checking for stray stones and other small debris (yes, it happens!). Simmer on medium-low heat for approx 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices to taste.

Simmer an additional 3 or 4 hours, until beans are well done and flavors are "married."

Serve with cornbread or bread and butter, if desired.


Servings: 5-6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cooking Time: 4 Hours

Source: My husband, the country-cooking king!

By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH

July 14, 20110 found this helpful

These sound good.Thanks for posting.

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July 14, 20110 found this helpful

Great Northern beans are the ones my mom always used to make her Boston Baked Beans which cooked in a big brown crock with a lid, in the oven for hours. They were so good. I've never been able to get the same good flavor when I make them, and I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention to the way she made hers.

I used to find cans of Brown Bread that went with them very well, but haven't seen it in a while now. I'm not even sure it's still being made, but it was so nice and moist.

Thanks for sharing your recipe. You'll get my vote.


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January 28, 20160 found this helpful

I remember that bread very well, my Mom's favorite. They still have it. It is B&M brown bread, plain or raisin. They also have B&M baked beans as well. Thanks for the memories!

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July 14, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for the votes, ladies. SuziQ9, I never paid attention when I was small either, and regretted it later. Just this year I *finally* got her chicken and dumplings to taste anywhere close. Hubby likes to add a dollop of BBQ sauce to his great northerns once they're in his bowl, and sometimes a little raw onion. The "fat meat," as he calls it, is my fave part. Bad for the waistline and prob cholesterol, but it tastes so good!

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July 14, 20110 found this helpful

I love those beans also. I buy a big ham hock at one of our local butcher outlets. Boil it for an hour or so with a chopped onion. Remove and de-bone, then all back in the pot. Add pre-soaked beans. I love carrots with that dish too. Check carrots after 20 minutes or so, they get mushy.

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July 14, 20110 found this helpful

We have Great Northern or the Large Dried Lima Beans once a week. I buy a package of both, and we cook and eat whichever one we want first, then we buy another package of each so that we always have a choice. Well cooked beans over rice with baked cornbread, and chopped onion are one of the best meals I can think of.

I make a hot, sweet tomato sauce to spoon over the top of the beans and rice in my bowl. It's very spicy hot, so I use only a little, but my hubby wants lots of it on his beans and rice. It burns my tongue too much, but I love the flavor.

Thank you for the great recipe Jo and for reminding me that I need to put the beans on my grocery list again.

Thumbs Up.


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Anonymous Flag
July 14, 20110 found this helpful

These sound so very, very good, JPJ! Do you happen to have any slow cooker conversion tips? I am definitely going to try your recipe but might wait until Fall. Short term oven and stove top cooking are a-okay but long term not so good because of the heat here in my neck of the woods during Summer. ;-)

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July 15, 20110 found this helpful

TomatoHanger, I need to keep reminding hubby to try his recipe with a little carrot and celery - that's how my mom cooked great Northerns. Deeli, I'm sorry. I don't own a crock pot, so don't have any conversion recipe. Pookarina, I have a couple of sons who would adore your hot tomato sauce recipe. Dwight and I just aren't into the hot stuff! He burned out his desire for hot stuff trying to eat an entire jalapeno on a bet. (The fellow hadn't told him it was specially bred for extra heat.)

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