Mattapoisett Man Is the SouthCoast’s ‘King of Baked Beans’
Not that there's anything wrong with it, but usually I just monkey around with canned baked beans and they come out tasting pretty good. I bet many of you have your secret ingredients for doctoring up beans as well. That said, there's no comparing B&M, Bush's Best or Van Camp to slow-cooked, homemade baked beans.
One Mattapoisett man, however, is royalty when it comes to baked beans.
Just recently, the Knights of Columbus in Mattapoisett prepared a benefit ham and baked bean supper for our own Chris McCarthy, where the baked beans were so delicious and addicting that I had to find out more about them.
They were prepared by Bernie Gauvin of Mattapoisett.
"Around here, they call me the 'king of baked beans," said Gauvin, who has been married to his wife Nancy for 62 years. Did the delicious baked beans have anything to do with keeping the marriage together for so long?
"That's a secret, just like my recipe, and I'm not telling anybody anything," he said.
Gauvin, heading toward his 90s, is well aware that his secret recipe is a huge crowd-pleaser at many of the Knights of Columbus grab-and-go meals.
"The people will call and ask if the dinner includes any 'Bernie Beans,'" he said.
Gauvin, his wife Nancy, and the fellow Knights – along with their hard-working wives – have a spotless kitchen filled with a dozen electric countertop crockpots slowly cooking those "Bernie Beans."
He really is protective of his signature dish.
"My wife keeps telling me to write down the recipe, but no, I'm not revealing my magic formula," he said.
One thing is for certain: I tasted the balanced mix of salt pork and brown sugar, along with his secret ingredients, that creates a delectable dish fit for a king.
What spices does he add to make the beans taste so good and sweet but not overly sweet? That's what I want to know.
"The only hint I'll give you," Gauvin said, "Is I use navy beans that I rinse and soak overnight, and then I slow cook them overnight until they're perfect."
Feel free to tell us what do you do to your baked beans, whether preparing from scratch or just enhancing the taste of store-bought beans – or if there's somebody you know who makes the best baked beans.
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