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The Hirshon Durgin-Park Boston Baked Beans

The Hirshon Durgin-Park Boston Baked Beans

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


  • 1 lb dried pea beans (strongly preferred) or dried navy beans
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ lb top-quality salt pork
  • ½ medium onion (peeled and uncut)
  • 4 tbsp sugar if using fireplace method (2 tbsp if using oven method)
  • 2 tbsp bourbon smoked sugar, if using oven method (omit if using fireplace method)
  • 1 bay leaf (TFD addition, omit for original recipe)
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper


  1. For the oven method:
  2. Soak beans overnight.
  3. In the morning, preheat oven to 325°F. Parboil them for ten minutes with baking soda. Then run cold water through the beans in a colander or strainer. Set aside.
  4. Dice the salt pork into 1-inch squares.
  5. Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of the bean pot, along with the onion and 1 bay leaf.
  6. Put beans in the pot.
  7. Put the remaining salt pork and bay leaf on top of the beans.
  8. Mix the sugars, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper with 3 cups of hot water and pour over the beans.
  9. Cover pot with lid and place the pot into the preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 6 hours.
  11. Check pot periodically to make sure the amount of liquid is okay.
  12. Add water to the beans slowly as needed to keep them moist; DO NOT FLOOD THEM. Just “top them up”.
  13. Remove the pot from the oven and serve.
  14. To make the fireplace version:
  15. It helps to have a large quantity of reserved fireplace ash on hand to create a mound with a well in the center for the beanpot.
  16. Plan ahead of time. The beans cook for 6+ hours, and you need to have a fire that’s been burning for at least 2 hours to have enough embers to keep the beanpot at a low simmer.
  17. If you plan to have your beans with dinner at 7 PM, that means you need to start your fire by 11 AM at the latest. If you don’t already have reserved fireplace ash, plan on starting the fire at least 4 hours before putting the beans in.
  18. When it’s time to set the beans in the fireplace, create a mound of ashes and embers about 5 inches deep and make a well in the center to hold the beanpot. Make sure the mound is 6-12 inches away from the fire, otherwise the beans will boil instead of slowly simmering.
  19. Follow the recipe directions from the oven version, but using only regular sugar, no smoker sugar needed here! Put the beanpot in place and use your fireplace shovel to build up more ash around the sides.
  20. Keep the fire going, but make sure it’s not a raging fire. You should only add 1 log at a time, and keep the fire going only enough to keep the beanpot at a low, slow simmer. There should only be bubbles along the edges of the pot closest to the fire or next to some hot embers.
  21. Periodically use your fireplace tongs to place fresh, hot embers around the beanpot to keep it at a simmer.
  22. Check the beanpot every 20-30 minutes and add water whenever the water line goes below the top of the beans.
  23. You always want the cooking liquid to be at the same height or slightly above the top of the beans & salt pork.
  24. During the last 30 minutes, remove the lid and let the liquid cook off so a syrupy texture develops. Stir the beans to prevent the top layer from drying out and to keep the bacon/salt pork from burning.
  25. When the beans are at the desired consistency, remove pot from the fire and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  26. Notes: If you do not have a 2 quart beanpot, use a Dutch oven or large covered casserole dish.


  • Calories: 969.23 kcal
  • Sugar: 44.71 g
  • Sodium: 1696.06 mg
  • Fat: 47.59 g
  • Saturated Fat: 16.88 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 110.28 g
  • Fiber: 17.73 g
  • Protein: 28.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 48.76 mg
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