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Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the family recipe. I was raised on canned beans but my wife and MIL changed me. They also have a family recipe for real baked beans and there is just no comparison. I'm definitely gonna give these a go.
I always spatch it myself and remove the breast bone. I guess that's how I've always assumed it's been done since I first saw it on Good Eats. It's easy enough. I've got a good (clean) set of trauma shears that make short work of that spine too.