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Ken’s Authentic Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans
by Ken Williamson
Makes 10-12 side servings

  • 1 pound dry navy beans or dry Great Northern beans (about 2 1/3 cups).
  • ¼ pound bacon or salt pork
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup molasses or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. Rinse beans. In a large Dutch oven combine beans and 8-cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, place beans in water in Dutch oven. Cover and let soak in cool place 6 to 8 hours or overnight.)
  2. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to Dutch oven. Stir in 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans reserving liquid.
  3. In a 2 ½-quart ceramic bean pot with lid or casserole with lid or Dutch oven with lid combine beans, bacon, and onion. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid, the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
  4. Baked covered, in a 300 F degree oven about 2 ½ hours or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add additional reserved bean liquid to keep beans under liquid.
  5. When sauce has reached proper consistency stir in apple cider vinegar and continue baking uncovered 1 hour longer. Then serve and enjoy.

This is an old recipe I used to make my Boston Baked Beans in an old ceramic bean pot in the oven. When I made these beans every week in my mainland home where electricity was cheap, I didn’t mind letting the beans bake up to 8 hours in the oven. I would doctor them up by adding two cloves of sliced garlic and two bay leaves (Remove bay leaves when done cooking) and they would taste exactly like B & M brand Original Boston Baked Beans.

~ Ken Williamson (a Tasty Island reader and Pomai’s personal friend)


Ken’s Boston Baked Beans in a Pressure Cooker
by Ken Williamson
makes 10-12 side servings

  • 1 pound dry navy beans or dry Great Northern beans (about 2 1/3 cups Whole Food Market bulk buy).
  • ¼ pound salt pork diced into 1” X 2” strips
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup dark molasses (Grandma’s Brand)
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (Colman’s Brand)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. Rinse beans. In a 4 or 6 qt. Pressure Cooker combine beans and 8-cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, place beans and water in Pressure Cooker. Cover and let soak in cool place 6 to 8 hours or overnight.)
  2. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to Pressure Cooker. Stir in 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally as beans will become tender. Drain beans reserving liquid.
  3. Heat Pressure Cooker to sauté salt pork rendering fat, add onion to soften. After chopped onion is softened add beans back into Pressure Cooker. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid, the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Stir to mix ingredients into beans and add more reserved bean water if you feel more is needed.
  4. Close lid on Pressure Cooker and bring to high pressure. Lower heat to just maintaining pressure and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Use natural pressure release when done.
  5. When pressure has released, open lid and stir in apple cider vinegar. Serve and enjoy.

When I moved to Hawaii there is no way I am going to have the oven on for that long in the house as the monthly electric bill would be through the roof! Instead of long and slow cooking I switched to fast pressure cooking the Baked Beans obtaining the same results with a few changes.

~ Ken Williamson