Oh, the varied delights that are on display on the Tube of Ewe! I followed the links from another weblog to this little feature, copied out and printed the recipe and tried it out this week, following this nice gentleman’s advice – well, more or less. Never again shall canned baked Boston beans cross my lips; the resulting beans were savory to the nth degree – and cheap! Really, a one-pound bag of Navy beans, a square of salt-pork, an onion and some standard items from the pantry, including hot Indian mustard powder, not the recommended Coleman’s mustard and six hours at a low temperature in my oven, and oh, were they good! Savory, tender, full of flavor with the salt pork melting unctuously into the beans and the cooking liquid. What we didn’t eat got parted out into silicon 2-cup molds, and then decanted and vacuum-sealed for the freezer.

Alas, we didn’t have a proper New England covered pottery bean pot to cook them in – I thought we did, it was one of the items gifted to us by the family of a deceased neighbor, clearing out the hoarded stuff in the garage. Alas, the perfect glazed pottery bean pot had what looked like a factory flaw in the bottom – a small crack, which wasn’t sealed by the resulting glaze, and which would have sent a constant dribble of water out of it. (Honestly, I don’t know why the neighbor had an essentially useless object, but her garage was full of similarly useless stuff.) Well, that’s something going to the thrift-store donation pile, with the proviso that it’s more for show than actual function. At this point in life, I have no need for stuff that can’t really be used for the intended purpose. In the end, I baked the beans in a Williams-Sonoma glazed pottery tureen that I got on sale ages ago for Mom because the color of it suited the décor of her kitchen. No idea if Mom ever actually used it, before it came back to me, and sat on display on the upper level of the kitchen cabinets, until I pressed it into service to bake the beans in.


1 lb. dried Navy, Soldier, Pea, or other favorite beans.

6 Tbs. brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup Grandma’s dark molasses

2 tsp. dry Coleman’s mustard

1 tsp. salt

1 medium onion, chopped coarsely

4-6 oz. fat salt pork belly, scored crosswise to rind in 1/2 inch squares.  Do not cut through rind.  Hint: pork cuts easier if frozen.



Pick over beans for defects or stones, wash, and soak overnight in 1-1/2 gallons water.

In morning, parboil about 25 minutes.  Skins will crack open when blown upon.  Do not add any salt.

Remove beans with slotted spoon to crock, but reserve the liquid, which will be needed throughout cooking for replenishment.

Add remaining ingredients and stir in enough of the reserved liquid generously to completely cover.  Place pork on top of beans with the cut pork belly side down, with rind facing up.

Cover with crockery lid or cover loosely with foil.  Do not seal tightly.

Check at least every 90 minutes and don’t allow beans to dry out.  Replenish with reserved parboil water as needed during cooking to maintain liquid.

Bake at 275° F for six hours, or until tender.

NOTE:  Kidney, yellow-eye and certain others require longer cooking times at increased temperature of 300°.


  1. This looks delicious. Question: do you pour off the soaking water and add fresh when you start to boil the beans? If so, how much water do you add?

    • I think I parboiled the beans in the soaking water – six quarts of it! I had to use the big pasta pot to simmer them. Eventually, I only used about half of the soaking/simmer water.