Boston Baked Beans

I’m busy, take me to the short version

This recipe for Boston Baked Beans is based on my mother’s recipe which she got a long time ago from a neighbor named Mrs. Banks. My best guess is this recipe is at least 80 years old. It is the one my mother used to make baked beans on what seemed like every Saturday for our weekly beans and hot dogs dinner. My guess is back then you could probably feed a family of five for two bucks. The process would start on Friday night with soaking the beans and they would be in the oven all day Saturday.

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans

This is a project in that you have to soak the beans overnight the night before and then they cook in a low oven for 8 hours or so. But after they get going the smell in the kitchen is worth it. And I recommend using the salt pork because that is the best part when you are eating the beans and it also gives the beans a much glossier appearance and texture.

If you want to be very traditional, serve it with Boston Brown Bread which actually comes in a can and can be heated in a saucepan of warm water. But be sure to open the can first otherwise you will have brown bread all over the kitchen when the can explodes. We also used to have it with scored hot dogs pan fried in butter. And that was Saturday night dinner. With ketchup on the beans and mustard on the hot dogs that was a real treat.

So get yourself a traditional Boston Baked Bean pot and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb navy beans(or some other small white bean)
  • 4 oz. salt pork, cut in three pieces (optional-See below)
  • 1/3 c molasses
  • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 t table salt (if using salt pork, decrease to 1 t)
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t black pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse beans and pick through to make sure they are clean. Soak beans overnight in a non-reactive pot or bowl on the countertop in enough water to cover by several inches.
  2. Bag of Navy Pea Beans

    Bag of Navy Pea Beans

    Raw Beans Soaked Overnight

    Raw Beans Soaked Overnight

  3. In a pot large enough to hold the beans, boil 4 quarts of water with 1 t baking soda. Drain the beans and add to the pot once water is boiling. When it returns to a boil, continue to cook for 15 minutes. The beans will develop a foam so keep a close eye on the pot as this can boil over. The foam won’t hurt anything but you can skim it if you want. The beans should be tender but do not overcook. When you blow on the beans the skin should peal back easily. Once done, drain the beans in a colander and rinse lightly.
  4. Boiling the Beans

    Boiling the Beans

    Boiling Beans with Foam on Top

    Boiling Beans with Foam on Top

    Blowing on Beans Will Cause Skins to Peel

    Blowing on Beans Will Cause Skins to Peel

  5. While the beans are boiling, add molasses, brown sugar, ginger, mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne to a bowl and mix. Boil 3 cups water to be ready when the beans are done.
  6. Add Ingredients to a Mixing Bowl

    Add Ingredients to a Mixing Bowl

    Molasses Mixture

    Molasses Mixture

  7. If you are using salt pork, add 1 piece of the salt pork to the bottom of the bean pot. Add 1/2 the the beans and then add another piece of the salt pork. Add the remaining beans. If you are not using the salt pork just add the beans to the pot. Pour the ingredients from the bowl over the beans in the bean pot. Rinse the bowl with a little of the boiling water to get all the good stuff and add to the beans. Add enough boiling water to just cover beans and if you are using the salt pork, top with the remaining piece of salt pork.The water should just cover the beans, not drown them. You can always add more water if necessary but too much water can be a problem.
  8. Add Beans and a Piece of Salt Pork

    Add Beans and a Piece of Salt Pork

    Pour Molasses Over the Beans

    Pour Molasses Over the Beans

    Beans Ready to go into the Oven

    Beans Ready to go into the Oven

  9. Cover the bean pot and place in a cold oven. Bake, covered at 250 °F for 7 1/2 hours. Check the pot at about 5 hours and if it looks really dry add boiling water to come just below the top of the beans. Do not over add water. After 7 1/2 hours, remove the bean pot top and continue cooking for 30 to 45 minutes or until the beans are at the desired consistency. Let the beans set for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  10. Beans After 5 Hours - No Water Necessary

    Beans After 5 Hours – No Water Necessary

  11. Serve the beans with ham or hot dogs or pork chops or chicken or anything else you want to eat. Make sure there is a bottle of ketchup nearby and some toast or brown bread and you are in for a treat. Worth the wait!
  12. Consistency of Cooked Beans

    Consistency of Cooked Beans

Recipe Yield: Serves 6

Cuisine Type: American, New England

Category: Entree

Total Time: 24 Hours

Print Boston Baked Beans recipe.

Comments

  1. I bought a chunk of salt pork. I was tired of paying bacon prices. My mother always had salt pork in the house. I was going to use it instead of bacon in one of my bean recipes. I rinsed the salt off of it and fried it.It was so salty I didn’t want to put it in my soup. I tried to boil the salty fried bacon in water. I assumed all the flavor would be washed down the drain. My beans tasted okay. I found your website because I have to learn how to use the remainder of the pork correctly. Interestingly enough I discovered Boston-
    sidewalks. I live in Boston. My mother made beans every saturday. I will try your recipe but I remember my mom used an onion in her dish. I don’t want you to be jealous but homemade rolls,bread , and cinnamon rolls were made with the beans. We were poor so most things were made from scratch. Thanks for the cooking lesson. I am looking forward to reading your blog.

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