Kitchen Motherhood

Long’s Peak Baked Beans & “Thistle Hunting” on the Ranch

Written by Kelsey Pope

20150707_161427My son and I had an adventure this week to “hunt thistles.”  It was actually a chore, but we had to make it fun somehow, so hunting it was.

We had two different types of thistles in our pasture – musk and canada. Both have pretty, purple flowers, but they have thorns and “pokey” as my son would say. They are both noxious weeds. And these weeds are harmful for pastures and farm ground because they are competitive to the native grass or crop and are very persistent. Most states have a Noxious Weed Act that prohibits these weeds on all property and requires local governments to enforce this law – so it’s important for us to get rid of these. 

20150707_155225There are a few ways to get rid of noxious weeds: mechanical control involves repeated pulling, cutting and covering; cultural control is intended to reduce noxious weed populations by providing an environment that discourages weed growth like establishing a good native vegetation cover, mulching and rotational grazing; and biological control uses organisms, such as insects or fungal diseases, to control some noxious weeds.

I chose the mechanical method for the short term to chop off the thistle heads and dig up the root of the plants. Yet, our family practices rotational grazing on our pastureland with our cattle which helps the overall health of the grass. The areas that I was finding the thistles were in the creek bed where recent flooding has brought in more noxious weed varieties. 20150707_154703


So while “thistle hunting” is one chore of summer for farmers and ranchers, I also make up for it with a nice, big meal at the end of the day for working hard.  

I’m usually a baked-beans-from-a-can type of girl – but I wanted more pizzazz to go with with my barbecue chicken. I have this great cookbook that I got from my mom who made recipes from it when I was growing up, and now I’m glad to make these recipes for my son. It’s a go-to cook book and one of those go-to recipes is called Long’s Peak Baked Beans. The combo of pintos, kidney beans and black-eyed peas are a great combo. And it has beef AND bacon – you can’t go wrong for your summer barbecue with these beans!

Long's Peak Baked Beans


Start by browning hamburger, bacon and onion – then drain well. 

Long's Peak Baked Beans

Combine the rest of the ingredients – except the beans – and mix well.

Long's Peak Baked Beans

Add the beans and bake at 350* for 1 hour. 

Long's Peak Baked Beans

Now add some barbecue chicken, ribs or a hamburgers and you’ve got a great summer meal (or any time of the year).

Long's Peak Baked Beans

Long's Peak Baked Beans

Long's Peak Baked Beans
Serves 10
Baked beans have never tasted so good! Feeds a crowd but could easily be halved for a smaller family.
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 1/2 lb. hamburger
  2. 5 slices bacon, chopped
  3. 1 small onion, chopped
  4. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup ketchup
  6. 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  7. 1/4 tsp. pepper
  8. 1/3 cup sugar
  9. 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  10. 2 Tbsp. molasses
  11. 1/2 tsp. salt
  12. 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  13. 1 -- 46-54 oz. can pork and beans, drained
  14. 1 -- 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained
  15. 1 -- 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  1. In a skillet, brown hamburger, bacon and onion. Drain well.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients, except beans, and mix well.
  3. Mix in beans.
  4. Cover and bake at 350* for 1 hour.
  1. Best if left in refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours before baking.
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About the author

Kelsey Pope

I’m an ag gal born & raised in agriculture in Colorado, ag-educated at Kansas State, worked for agriculture in Nebraska, and am now back on the family cattle ranch. I’m also a mama to a ball-of-fire little boy who allows me to work from home and play with everyday.

I’m an advocate for livestock and food production, married to a wonderful beef guy, enjoy runs with my cow dog, Hank, and love crafts, quilting, writing, decaf coffee, traveling and time with my family. I blog about agriculture and life on the ranch at and blog about life, being a mama and one of my favorite stress relievers – quilting & sewing! at