Serve up a generous side of Smoked Baked Beans at your next cookout, loaded with layers of heat, sweetness, tangy flavors, and plenty of savory bacon. Barbecue is as much about the sides as the stars of the show, and these bubbly and sticky beans will demand center stage next to your smoked meats.
Barbecue and pit beans go together like brisket and beer. Combining salty bacon with sweet shallots, the kick of jalapeno and chipotle, and Smoky Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce, this recipe will be the one you go to again and again.
These smoked beans are so simple to make too. You can start with canned baked beans or if you have a homemade recipe, that’s even better. Simply cook down the bacon, diced vegetables, and chiles, then stir all of the ingredients together and smoke for a couple of hours. Sit back and enjoy a few beers or smoke some meat alongside the pan.
Try making this smoked baked beans recipe and pair it with just about anything that comes off your smoker: Beef plate ribs, juicy Smoked chicken halves, Country style ribs, Brisket burnt ends, Smoked pork steaks, and even Smoked pulled turkey.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy process. There is nothing complicated about this baked beans recipe. You will feel like a pitmaster when your family dives in and devours these. Using canned baked beans eliminates the need for any soaking of dried beans while giving you that perfect texture.
- Balanced flavors. The flavors of these beans are familiar and also easy to customize to your tastes. Because barbecue sauce is used there’s no additional ketchup or sugar. They’re sweet, but not overly sweet. They also get a triple kiss of smoke from the smoking process, the bacon, and the barbecue sauce. Throw in some chipotles for an extra smoky kick.
- Simple ingredients. All of the ingredients are easily accessible. Even the Smoky Sweet Heat Barbecue Sauce utilizes ingredients you probably have in your pantry. Make it for these beans and then use it the next time you make country-style ribs.
Variations and Ingredients
- Pick your sauce. Have fun customizing these beans with your favorite barbecue sauce. Sweet Honey Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Smoky Sweet Heat Sauce are both great options. You can also use your favorite store-bought variety. Stick with ketchup-based sauces since there isn’t any additional ketchup in this recipe. Check out our list for the Best Homemade BBQ Sauces!
- Bring the smoked meats. Don’t stop at just bacon. Other types of smoked meat would be delicious in this. Beef bacon, leftover pulled pork or brisket, or even kielbasa would all be delicious. You can also use browned ground beef or sausage. Just keep the ratios about the same, half a pound of meat to 48 ounces of beans.
- Spice it up. Like things extra spicy? Add a diced serrano to your sauteing aromatics, or an additional chopped chipotles.
- Keep it vegetarian (if you must). While bacon adds the first layer of smoky flavor, you can also make these beans completely vegetarian. Omit the meat and add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil when sauteing your aromatics. You may want to add an additional chipotle for a strong smoky flavor.
How to Smoke Baked Beans
Preparing these smoked baked beans is a simple step once you have the ingredients ready to go. Get out a large pot or Dutch oven and head to the stove.
- Crisp up the bacon first. Heat up the pan first and add the bacon. Occasionally stir it until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just becoming crispy. Remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. If you have too much excess bacon fat remove some of it, leaving about a tablespoon or enough to saute your aromatics.
- Cook the vegetables. Add the diced red bell pepper, jalapeno, and shallot to the bacon fat and allow it to saute for a few minutes until the shallots are translucent and the peppers are slightly softened.
- Cook out the tomato paste. Add the tomato paste and chopped chipotles and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes, which helps get rid of the raw tomato flavor. It will go from bright red to a rusty color.
- Combine everything (except the bacon). Pour in the baked beans, apple cider vinegar, and BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and allow them to simmer for five minutes, letting the flavors marry.
- Smoke the baked beans. Allow the beans to smoke for two hours at 250°F. Make sure to stir them every 30-45 minutes. This will allow them to cook and smoke evenly.
- For the best texture, use a thicker cut bacon for this recipe. It gives the best texture and holds its own with the beans.
- Make sure that you check the labels of your baked beans. There are so many varieties that have additional sugars, soggy bacon, or seasonings. Remember that you are making these your own so pick a pretty neutral, classic flavor.
- You can prepare these beans the day before up to the step of smoking them. Keep them covered and stored in the refrigerator. Once your smoker is heated to 250°F uncover them and pop them onto the smoker. They won’t even require any additional smoke time.
- If you have something else on the smoker like a brisket or pork shoulder, place the pan underneath. The drippings from the meat will add an additional layer of flavor to the beans. Plus, less cleanup!
- You are in control of the heat of these bacon barbecue beans. Feel free to deseed the jalapeno and leave the chipotles out. There is chipotle powder in the Smoky Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce that will give you that layer of smoked jalapeno flavor.
How to Serve Smoked Baked Beans
These smoked barbecue beans aren’t just for being a sidekick to your smoked burgers. Have fun using them in different and creative ways. Let them be the main event.
- Top a baked potato.
- Serve with cornbread.
- Smother a grilled (or smoked) hotdog.
- Make a cornbread-topped casserole for an easy weeknight meal.
- Mix up your potato skin fillings with this barbecue classic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, these beans freeze well and heat up easily. Allow them to cool completely. You can place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process. Once they have cooled you can transfer them to freezer-safe bags. To make storage easier, allow them to freeze flat on a baking sheet and then stack them up however you prefer. They will last for up to three months in the freezer. When ready to serve them let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then heat them up either on the stovetop or back on the smoker.
Yes. This same recipe can be made in the oven. However, you won’t have that complex sweet flavor of smoke permeating every bite. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Transfer your beans to an oven-safe baking dish and sprinkle the bacon over the top. Cover the beans with foil and allow them to bake for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and thickened. Remove the foil and allow them to bake for an additional ten minutes to let the top caramelize a little.
Not only does smoking them in an aluminum pan make for easy clean up and serving, but it also allows more surface area of the smoked baked beans to be exposed to the smoke. Using a cast iron skillet or other grill-safe baking dish would give you less surface area and you also risk them bubbling over.
- ½ pound smoked thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 shallots, diced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
- 2 cans baked beans, 28-ounces
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Smoky Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup chopped brisket, pulled pork, or other smoked meat (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and it just starts to become crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Add in the diced jalapeno, red bell pepper and shallots. Cook for about 3-4 minutes in the bacon fat until slightly softened.
- Add in the tomato paste and chipotles, stirring to incorporate. Cook for a couple of minutes to make sure the raw flavor of the tomato paste is cooked out.
- Pour in the beans, apple cider vinegar, and BBQ sauce. Turn the heat down and bring everything to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste to adjust the bbq beans for flavor.
- Transfer the bbq beans to a large foil baking pan and top with the crispy bacon. Smoke the bbq beans at 250°F for about 2 hours, stirring every 30-45 minutes.
- Taste the smoked baked beans. They can continue to cook longer if you prefer a stronger smoker flavor, otherwise they will be ready to serve just after 2 hours.
- Check the label of your baked beans to make sure you know what you’re buying: added sugar, more bacon, etc.
- Thick-cut bacon works best for this recipe.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Side Dish
Keywords: pit beans, baked beans, smoked baked beans, smoked bbq beans