Baked Beans and Fourth of July Fixins’

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Having moved from Hawaii upon graduation from college, my first home on the Mainland was Boston. And for a history buff, celebrating the Fourth of July in the hotbed of the American Revolution was thrilling. It brought textbook tales to life in a way that was unimaginable studying history at Hilo High School.

One of the highlights of that summer was dining at the iconic Durgin-Park, experiencing a traditional New England dinner at communal tables under the bustling service of surly waiters. In addition to a memorable meal, I took away with me the baked beans recipe from the restaurant and I’ve continue to make it for many a Fourth of July cookout since.

I know you can just open a can of baked beans, but this is the real deal. It’s very easy to make; the only barrier is the time required for soaking the beans and the long baking. So plan ahead.

What else is on the table for the Fourth of July? Here are some mouthwatering ideas from the Special Fork database:

  • Katie Barreira’s Barbarian Style Baby Back Ribs, was inspired by The Barbarian Grill, a kiosk she encountered at a summer food festival. “I channeled my inner barbarian and the results were savagely delicious,” she said of her recipe.
  • Grilled Potatoes with Red Onions and Chives is a warm salad created by Lori Powell made by grilling the salad ingredients and tossing with a vinaigrette.
  • Last-Minute Desserts is a look back at some super-easy dessert ideas I cobbled together one year using convenient supermarket ingredients dressed up in red, white and blue.

Durgin-Park’s Boston Baked Beans

2 pounds dry beans (California Pea beans preferred or York State beans) (I used Navy beans)
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces salt pork, cut in 1/2-inch squares
1 medium onion, peeled and left whole
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Add water to cover beans generously and soak overnight in large bowl. In the morning, transfer beans and soaking water to a large pot (add more water to cover beans if needed), add baking soda and boil 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Put half the pork and whole onion in the bottom of a 2 1/2-quart bean pot (I use a large, heavy casserole with lid). Add drained beans and top with the rest of the pork.

In large heat proof bowl, combine sugar, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper, and mix with enough water hot water to just cover the beans (about 5 cups); pour mixture over beans and add additional water if beans aren’t covered. Cover with lid and bake for 6 hours. Check every hour or so and add just enough water to keep beans covered.

Makes 10 full portions (about 12 cups). If you have more beans that you can eat at a sitting, freeze beans in zip-top freezer bags.

Recipe adapted from Durgin-Park restaurant.

Have a great Fourth!

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Related posts:

  1. All-American Favorites for the Fourth of July
  2. What’s Cooking for the Fourth?
  3. Happy Fourth!
  4. Last-Minute Fourth of July Desserts

Posted: Jun 29th by Sandy_Hu