This recipe for pork and beans, affectionately called Mémé Allen’s Beans by her family, is served for all family milestones from baby showers to funerals.

Close up of beans, onions, and salt pork in Dutch oven for Meme Allen's Beans

Mémé Allen’s Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Beans
Cuisine: American
Keywords: beans
Servings: 6 - 8 servings
Calories: 692kcal
Author: Donna Nardolillo
I come from a very large extended family. My Mother, Mary, was one of thirteen children. Only eleven of the thirteen had children. I am one of fifty-eight grandchildren. My Merere (pronounced Mem-may and means “Grandmother” in French) loved to cook her baked beans and were requested for every family function, from baby showers to weddings. Memere had to start renting a hall to fit all of us during the holidays. My cousins were my first friends and we are all still close even after fifty years! When Memere passed away in her sleep on her 90th birthday, everyone was invited to her home and was told to take whatever we wanted as a keepsake. Of all the things that I could have chosen, I went straight to the pantry and picked out her two wooden spoons that she so lovingly cooked with. I can still picture her standing in front of her stove preparing the beans, etc. She always said that no matter what, you must cook with love. That’s what makes the dish so special.


  • 1 pound navy pea beans
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Soak navy beans in 4 cups of water for 12 hours.
  • Drain the beans transfer to a large cooking pot. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 1 - 2 hours until beans are tender.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and cook until done, about 30 minutes.


Meme Allen's Handwritten Recipe

Mémé's wooden spoons that Donna cherishes.


Calories: 692kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 1420mg | Potassium: 1190mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 5.2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @theheritagecookbookproject or tag #theheritagecookbookproject!


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Close up of beans, onions, and salt pork in Dutch oven for Meme Allen's Beans
Mémé Allen's Beans

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