How to make bean-hole beans:

Via Robert Campbell of Glenburn, Maine

What I did, I dug a pit about thirty inches deep and put a cast iron manhole cover in the bottom. Oh it must weight well over a hundred pounds. And then I took 2 truck wheels, welded them together, put those in the hole, and then I surrounded them with roughly 95 – 100 window-sash weights around the wheels … rocks off the farm …and finished the top with bricks. Now I can fire it up with a couple of basket loads of wood for 2, 2 1/2 hours, then shovel it [the coals] out, put the beans in [cover with coals and dirt to seal] and cook them from twelve to twenty hours and they, so far, come out perfect every time.”


“Probably forty years ago I started working on the bean recipe and it’s changed, it’s evolved over the years and I think I’ve got it right now exactly where I want it. And I can’t think of another thing I can possible do. One of the major changes I made was in the kind of mustard that I use. I got away from using the powdered, prepared mustard, dry mustard if you will, and I went to use the liquid mustard produced by Ray’s Mustard Mill in Eastport, and it’s done wonders for the beans. And now I have to buy it by the gallon. I really do. But it took a long time to develop that. It’s their factory mustard, the one they put in sardine cans for sardines and …

“It seems to be where people like it and I like it. It’s not a sweet bean. It’s got smoked ham hocks, garlic, molasses, your traditional additives. But garlic, good smoked ham hocks, salt pork, and molasses, mustard. Big secret. I don’t think I’m going to change that recipe. I really don’t. Oh, it’s a beauty.

“I love onions, I … I don’t cut back on the onions at all. I use a couple of medium onions per 2 pounds or one great big one and anywhere form a quarter pound ato a half pound of salt pork…”

“…Use a fairly large smoked ham hock, indescribable flavor. And Beans in Bangor makes probably the best hocks I’ve ever come across. I have to put them away in quantity in the summer time to be sure I have them. You really have to because everybody bakes beans in the summer time so your good products, you need to know that, get them ahead of time.”


Bean-hole beans
11 lbs yellow-eye beans
5 pounds salt pork
2 cups molasses
1 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons dry mustard
Salt and pepper
5 whole onions
Water to cover

Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair
Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair.
Vegetarian baked beans
2 lbs beans
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
one chopped onion
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar or honey
salt and pepper

Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair
Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair.
Baked beans
1 bag pea beans
2 onions, quartered
salt pork/4 slices bacon, cut up
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbs. dry mustard
Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair
Bean hole beans at the Common Ground Fair.