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Oct 1, 2007 10:31 AM

Boston Baked Beans

Does anyone have a good recipe for classic Boston baked beans?

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  1. This is the recipe I use for BBB

    Sometimes I'll add strips of bacon on top before a place it in the oven to bake.

    1. I use the recipe from the famous old restaurant in Boston: Durgin Park

      Use a 2 quart bean pot or casserole.
      2 lbs California pea beans, soaked overnight
      In the morning after soaking, place beans in water with a teaspoon of baking soda and boil for 10 minutes. Wash in a colander with cold water.

      Dice one pound of salt pork into 1/4 inch squares
      Put 1/2 of salt pork in the bottom of the pot with one whole yellow onion
      Put beans on top and then the other 1/2 lb of salt pork

      Mix 2/3 cup of molasses, 8 tbsp sugar, brown or white, 2 tsp dry mustard, 4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper with enough hot water to almost rise to the top of the beans. Pour over beans. Bake in 300 degree oven for six hours, uncovered, Add enough water to keep moist at least or more than twice every hour. Do not add too much water at once or the beans will be mushy. One pot serves 10.

      1. See the link for much conversation on this topic.

        1. Thought I'd revive this thread to see if there are any more recipes or suggestions out there.

          I'm looking for a recipe that uses small pea or navy beans, isn't too sweet, and doesn't use tomato products. Along with potato salad, they will be a side dish for baby backs. I'll also make a smaller veggie version for the non-meat eater in the family, so I'll be using the oven and not the crockpot.

          It seems like all my efforts in the past have either been too sweet or sort of sweet-and-sour, and haven't been soft enough. Any thoughts on simmering with baking soda for 15 minutes or so after soaking?


          7 Replies
          1. re: bear

            This recipe calls for some ribs in the pot, so it might work well for you. Enjoy!

            Wendy's Baked Beans

            1 lb. dried navy beans (2 1/4 cups)
            1 bay leaf
            1 medium onion, peeled
            4 pork spareribs, or 8 baby back ribs
            1/3 cup pure maple syrup
            1/3 cup molasses
            2 tsp. dry mustard (preferably Colman's) OR 2 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
            Freshly ground black pepper to taste
            1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
            2 Tbsp. pickle juice OR 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar and 1 tsp. salt

            Pick over beans, discarding any that don't look appealing. Rinse beans in a colander. Place beans in a large bowl, add enough cool water to cover them by 2 inches, and soak for at least 6 hours or overnight, changing water at least once.
            Drain beans, place them in a large pot, and add bay leaf and enough cool water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just barely tender, about 1 hour. Drain well. Add the peeled whole onion and pork ribs to the pot.
            Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 250 degrees.
            Bring about 4 cups of water to boil in another pot.
            Use butter to lightly grease a glass measuring cup. In the cup, combine maple syrup and molasses. Stir in mustard and pepper. Add this to the bean pot. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the beans, cover with the lid and bake, occasionally adding more boiling water to keep the beans covered, until they are tender but not falling apart, 4 or 5 hours.
            Remove the bean pot from the oven. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove ribs, pull meat from the bones, and stir the meat back into the beans, discarding bones and excess fat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and pickle juice.
            With the lid off, return the pot to the oven and let beans bake, uncovered and without additional water, until the sauce has thickened and is nicely caramelized on top, about 45 minutes more.

            Yield: 8 servings

            1. re: bear

              My recipe from Durgin Park (above) uses pea beans and calls for cooking in baking soda after soaking. They are excellent- if you want them less sweet just cut down on the sugar.

              1. re: emilief

                I am about a try a recipe by John Thorne, based on his Maine experiences.. he recommends Crosby's molasses (maybe just because its the regional fave), yellow eye beans (or Jacobs Cattle/Great Northern, but navy is stated as being fine as well), and some dark rum..

              2. re: bear

                Thanks, everyone,

                The bean dinner has been postponed til this weekend, but I'll report back. The Durgin Park beans sound simple and classic New England (haven't been to the restaurant in many years), but I like the idea of adding a few ribs to the salt pork to add a touch of meaty flavor, and will probably add an onion. I'll go easy on the sweetner. Grant, there has been a short thread on the Boston board about Crosby's molasses, so it sounds like it's available locally and I'll pick some up and use that rather than the Grandma's in my fridge.

                Thanks again!

                1. re: bear

                  Just for the record: the processing with baking soda is the secret to gas-free bean eating. Without this step, the outcome of any Bean Dinner is a night spent outdoors...

                  1. re: rebrites

                    In my experience, I've never found that adding baking soda makes a difference, and it leaves the beans with a soapy aftertaste.

                    Now, I just soak them and cook them and take some Beano. No problems. :)

                    1. re: BabsW

                      I made these last week. This is the recipe I use. I use seven swirls of molasses more than the recipe calls for.

              3. Yeah, I know the original post is way old. But....

                If you're into canning (and if not, give it a think), try the Boston Baked Bean recipe in the Ball Blue Book (standard canning guide). It requires canning under pressure so you'll need a pressure cooker. The results are so good that I give them away as Christmas presents!