From America's Test Kitchen Season 6: American Classics
Boston baked beans are both sweet and savory, a unique combination of the simplest ingredients, unified and refined during a long simmer. Unfortunately, recipes with lengthy lists of untraditional ingredients and mushy beans abound. We wanted tender beans in a thick, smoky, slightly sweet sauce. For depth of flavor, we started by browning a combination of salt pork and bacon in a Dutch oven. Small white beans were preferred for their creamy texture and ability to remain intact during the long simmer. Mild molasses provided just the right amount of sweetness, while brown mustard and cider vinegar added welcome notes of spice and tanginess. We removed the lid for the last hour of cooking to reduce the sauce to a syrupy, intensified consistency that perfectly napped the beans.
Serves 4 to 6
The beans can be made ahead. After cooking, cool them to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.