Nana Smith’s Boston Baked Beans

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

An old New England Saturday night favorite was baked beans and franks. Nana always served it with steamed brown bread. Here’s her old recipe tried and true 100 years later!


  • 1 lb. dried beans, preferably navy
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. piece of salt pork (you can also use diced bacon or a small ham hock)
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced


  1. Pick out discolored beans and any field derbris (stone pieces and stems). Soak beans overnight in cold water and 1 tbsp. of kosher salt.
  2. The next morning I simmer the beans in the same water for 30-45 minutes until tender and bean skins can be gently blown off bean. Drain the beans reserving the liquid.
  3. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  4. Take piece of salt pork and with rind side up, use a sharp knife and score the meat with cuts ½ inch deep making a crosshatch pattern. Sear the salt pork in hot Dutch oven over medium high heat till it is golden brown. Place in the bottom of Bean pot or covered Dutch oven.
  5. Arrange the beans on and around the salt pork and layering them with onion.
  6. In a bowl, combine molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, and brown sugar. Pour over beans. Pour in the reserved bean liquid. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid.
  7. Bake for 6-8 hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the cover, stir gently and add hot water to just cover beans if needed. Continue checking every hour to be sure that the beans are just covered with liquid. Add more hot water if needed. Stir gently each time you check. Beans should be getting tender, so stir the beans thoroughly but gently one last time. Do not add any more water unless the level gets very low. Test for tenderness. Allow the beans to form a dark brown crust on top.