Nana Smith's Baked Beans

Mom used to make these for get-togethers either for church, drum corps or skiing. They’re made in an 18-quart cooker that you can find in the stores again now. She’d sometimes have three cookers going at the same time, depending on how many were coming. Makes a great slow-cooked New England style baked bean meal for many.


8 pounds Navy beans
28 ounces ketchup
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 pounds dark brown sugar
1 16-ounce bottle molasses
1 tablespoon mustard
2 pieces salt pork (4x4 inches), cut off skin
2 onions, quartered


Wash beans and place in cooker. Fill cooker with water. Soak the beans overnight with the cover on. Add other ingredients early next morning. Cook at 300-325 degrees for 8 hours. Stir occasionally and add water as needed. NOTES : When I wash the beans, I do it in a metal colander one bag at a time. I don’t use a plastic sieve as the metal colander lets you hear any little rocks that get in the beans from the way they process them. The pieces of salt pork are usually about 4”x4” and cut almost through into quarters. They’ll fall apart in the cooking process. Don’t forget to cut off the tough skin. I have used, on occasion, as a replacement for the salt pork, either a pound of bacon cut into pieces or a couple of pounds of boneless pork spare ribs. The ribs came out incredible.

This feeds a lot of people. I guessed at 25, might do more depending on the serving amount. I have frozen these in one gallon freezer bags filled half way and layed flat in the freezer.

Cooking & Recipes


18 quarts

Preparation Method


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Just tried the recipe and it

Just tried the recipe and it turned out fantastic! Just one question (if anyone can answer): in the morning, after the beans have soaked, I take it you leave whatever water remains, and you don't drain them? Have you ever had to add more liquid during the cooking time?

Thanks again for a great recipe!!