Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 8 (6-ounce) custard cups. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup sugar with a couple drops of water, stirring constantly until it is a light brown syrup. Pour syrup into buttered cups. Place cups in baking pan for easy handling.
In large bowl with mixer at low speed, beat eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until lemon-colored. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla. Once mixture has settled, with all air bubbles out, pour mixture into cups.
Pour hot water into baking pan to within 1-inch of top of cups. Bake 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, loosen custard with knife; invert.