This is an American masterpiece with a heritage which goes back to the sturdy settlers of New England. Each cook treasures his or her own version to the exclusion of all others, and to print any single recipe is to invite trouble with lovers of this American tradition.
1 lb. dried navy beans
1/4 lb. lean salt pork, blanched
1 onion, peeled and halved
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup reserved bean liquid
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. dry mustard
Step 1. Presoak beans 1 hour using quick soaking method. Drain and transfer to a large pot. Add enough water to cover at least two inches and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Drain, reserving liquid.
Step 2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Score salt pork every half inch or cut into cubes. Stick a clove into each onion half and place in traditional bean pot or heavy 2-quart casserole with tight fitting lid. Add beans. “Bury” salt pork in beans, leaving any rind exposed.
Step 3. Combine molasses, reserved bean liquid, brown sugar, salt and mustard in small bowl and mix well. Pour over beans, adding enough additional reserved bean liquid to cover completely. Cover and bake 6 to 7 hours, adding more reserved bean liquid or water to prevent beans from drying out. Remove cover, add rum, stir well and bake an additional hour. Serve with any roast, steak or chops.