A cookout is not complete without a hearty dish of Boston Baked Beans. I made a pot of beans this weekend as a side dish to go with my Grilled Beer Can Chicken and Nearly Southern Style Potato Salad. We had other dishes, too, like Deviled Eggs, and Chocolate Ice Box Cake. We finished off this hearty meal with slices of ice-cold watermelon.
I like to cook Boston Baked Beans in a 5-quart cast iron dutch oven. Nothing screams Americana more than a cast iron pot — perfect for outdoor cooking, too. I start by rendering the salt pork in olive oil, then I add the onion and cook until tender. The secret to good Boston Baked Beans is dark molasses (not black strap). I use a cupful, then I add a bit of dark brown sugar, tomato juice, dry mustard, and granulated garlic. My dad uses maple bacon in his beans and sometimes smoked meats. You can also saute fresh garlic with the onion, but the granulated garlic dissolves quickly. I’ve also made these beans using regular mustard. Molasses is about the only ingredient that I won’t substitute. It’s a must have to make perfect Boston Baked Beans.
Once the sauce is made, I add the beans and bring them to a boil. The dutch oven is then transferred to a 325 degree preheated oven where the beans will slowly cook for 2-3 hours until soft and thick. To give the cookout that down home rustic theme, I serve the beans in personal 1-pint country kettles.
- 1 pound dried Navy beans
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces diced salt pork
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 2-3 cups hot water
- Rinse and sort beans. Cover with 6-8 cups of water in large pot and soak overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse beans before using.
- In a large cast iron pot, cook salt pork in oil over medium heat until rendered. Add onion and cook until tender and translucent. Add molasses, tomato juice, mustard, sugar, and garlic. Mix well. Add beans, then add enough water to cover beans with 1 inch of water, about 2 cups.
- Bring beans to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and bake for 2-1/2 to 3 hours at 325 degrees or until beans are soft and the sauce is reduced to a thick liquid. Check the beans every hour. If beans become dry, add additional water.
I shared this recipe at these awesome parties.
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