Boston baked beans

I recently made Boston (or rather Maine) baked beans, a week-long process. The recipe was devised from several John Thorne recipes, mainly because I didn’t have the right ingredients to make any single one of them. This is mainly a combination of his “Up-North Beans” and his “Downeast Baked Beans” from Serious Pig, a book I highly recommend, not just one of the best cookbooks of the past decade or so, but one of the most interesting books about food traditions and eating:

First, I made salt pork by taking pork belly from Eataly and curing it in a brine of salt and brown sugar for four days (there’s lots of extra left in the freezer for summer chowders):

Next I soaked Rancho Gordo‘s EXCELLENT Jacob’s Cattle beans overnight:

And then put them in the dutch oven and boiled and simmered them with their soaking liquid “until a sharp breath will split the skin of a bean” (this direction has got to come from one of the old recipes Thorne researched), and drained them, reserving the cooking liquid:

The next step is to combine the beans with the salt pork, along with molasses, rum, mustard powder, salt and pepper, and then add back enough bean liquid to be visible through the beans, and bake for 5 1/2 hours at 250 degrees. Every so often you have to check that there’s still a minimum of liquid, and add back bean liquid as necessary, moving on to water once the bean liquid has run out; here’s a shot partway through the baking process:

The final result!