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Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar

This easy recipe for smoked baked beans with bacon and brown sugar is the perfect side dish for just about any occasion – holidays, cookouts, picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, or a summer potluck.

Hearty enough to be served as as a main dish, these tasty beans are slow cooked in a cast iron skillet until the sauce thickens and they absorb all the rich smoky flavor.

Don’t have a smoker or pellet grill? No problem! I’ve included directions below to make this tasty beans recipe in your oven.

A cast iron skillet filled with smoked baked beans with bacon and brown sugar, with a cloth napkin near the handle.

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Contents

  1. Why This Recipe Is Worth Making
  2. Ingredients and Substitutions
  3. Equipment Needed and Tools We Love
  4. Step by Step Instructions
  5. Pro Recipe Tips
  6. What Wood to Smoke Beans?
  7. Oven Baked Beans
  8. What to Eat Baked Beans With?
  9. Recipe Variations
  10. How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
  11. How Long to Smoke Beans at 250
  12. More Popular Bacon Side Dish Recipes
  13. Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar Recipe
  14. Save for Later

Why This Recipe is Worth Making

The flavor of these easy baked beans is amazing! The classic recipe features a full pound of tasty BACON, plus BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, jalapenos, onions and seasonings.

Baked beans are the ultimate comfort food, and everyone seems to like them. They’re hearty with a complex blend of sweet, salty, spicy and savory flavors from the bacon and pork belly. Plus, navy beans are a great source of fiber!

The beans can slow-cook in the smoker for several hours while you prepare other food or mingle with your guests.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Barbecue sauce, 2 cans of pork and beans, jalapeno peppers, bacon, onion, brown sugar, beer, seasonings and condiments to make smoked baked beans.

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare these tasty baked beans (full recipe and instructions below):

  • A pound of thick-sliced smoked bacon – I prefer the thicker slices for this recipe, because they provide more substantial texture and flavor and don’t get absorbed in the mixture during cooking.
  • 1 medium onion – I usually use a sweet yellow onion like Vidalia, but any yellow, white or red onion is fine.
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cans pork and beans – It’s important to use plain pork n beans for this recipe, so they can absorb all the smoke and delicious flavors you add.
  • Barbecue sauce – We used a bourbon maple sauce, but feel free to use whatever you like. Add a honey based sauce if you like your beans sweet, or a spicy sauce for extra heat.
  • Brown sugar – light or dark brown sugar work equally well in this recipe, so use whichever you have on hand.
  • 1/2 cup beer – The beer adds flavor and tempers the sweetness of the brown sugar. Feel free to use regular or nonalcoholic beer, or you can substitute beef broth if you like.
  • Molasses – Regular baking molasses adds sweet, complex flavors to the beans. If you only have blackstrap molasses on hand, you can use that but you may want to reduce the quantity a bit since it’s very strongly flavored.
  • Ketchup – Your favorite brand is fine. If you like, you can add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to the catsup for a little extra zing.
  • Dijon mustard – If you don’t have Dijon mustard, feel free to use yellow mustard or your favorite. In a pinch, you can mix a teaspoon of dry mustard with a teaspoon of water and add that to the mix instead of prepared mustard.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Equipment Needed and Tools We Love

Smoker – We use this CampChef WiFi connected pellet grill and love the convenience, but you can use an electric smoker, drum smoker, charcoal smoker or your favorite type.

Sharp knife – You’ll need a sharp chef’s knife to chop the bacon and other ingredients.

Cutting board – For slicing and chopping we use our go-to nonslip pro cutting board, and for dicing and mincing we use our fun maple pig-shaped cutting board!

Garlic press – This is our favorite garlic press because of the self-cleaning feature!

10.25 inch cast-iron skillet – A cast iron pan holds heat and can easily go from the smoker to the table. (Check out our review of best frying pans.)

Large Spoon – A heatproof stainless steel cooking spoon is best for stirring the hot beans on the smoker.

Pair of oven mitts – Cast iron gets HOT, so we recommend good, heat-resistant oven mitts like these Gorilla Grip extra-long silicone oven mitts.

Trivet – If you’re planning to serve the beans straight from the skillet (and why not?), a heatproof pad like this “rustic swine” trivet will protect tables and countertops.

Step by Step Instructions

Preheat smoker and add wood following manufacturer’s instructions. Heat to 225 degrees F.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, cook the chopped slices of bacon over medium heat on the stovetop.

Chopped raw bacon in a black cast iron skillet.

Cook until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

A pile of freshly cooked bacon bits on a piece of parchment paper.

Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the pan drippings. (Save that “liquid gold!” Here’s what to do with bacon grease and 25 ways to use bacon fat.)

Add the diced onion to the hot skillet. Saute onion over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos and garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.

Chopped onions and jalapenos cooking in a skillet.

Pour off the excess liquid from the cans of beans. Add the drained beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, beer, molasses, ketchup, mustard, and half of the cooked bacon. Stir until combined thoroughly.

Stirring the beans into the onion jalapeno mixture in a large cast iron skillet.

Place uncovered skillet in smoker and close the lid.

Placing the skillet of baked beans in the smoker.

Smoke until beans are hot and bubbling, about 2 1/2 hours. Stir beans every 30 minutes.

Cooked baked beans in a skillet ready to be removed from the smoker.

Sprinkle the reserved bacon pieces on top of the beans immediately after removing pan from skillet. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Smoked baked beans with bacon and brown sugar in a cast iron skillet.

Pro Recipe Tips

Store the cans of beans upright before preparing this recipe, so it’s easy to pour off the excess liquid.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger crowds. Just use a larger skillet and cook a little longer.

What Wood to Smoke Baked Beans?

The type of wood chips or fuel you choose for your smoker will add subtle flavor to the beans. Here are some guidelines:

  1. For more subtle smoke flavor, choose a milder wood like apple, peach, pecan or cherry wood.
  2. Moderately flavored woods include maple, oak and alder.
  3. For a stronger, more distinctive smoke flavor, choose a wood like hickory or mesquite.

Oven Baked Beans

You don’t need a pellet smoker to make this baked beans recipe. Simply prepare the beans as directed and put them in a greased 9- by 13-inch baking dish, dutch oven or cast iron skillet. Cook uncovered in the oven at 325 degrees F until the sauce thickens and the beans are hot and bubbling, about 1.5 hours.

Optional: For a touch of smoky flavor, you can add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke flavoring to the mixture before cooking.

What to Eat Baked Beans With?

This tasty side dish goes well with so many foods! Here are some perfect pairings:

Recipe Variations

Hot Dogs and Baked Beans (a.k.a. homemade Beanie Weenies!) – Cut 4 jumbo all-beef hot dogs in 1-inch slices, and stir into the baked bean mixture just before placing in the smoker.

Tangy Baked Beans – Stir in 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to the baked bean mixture before placing in smoker.

Milder Baked Beans – Substitute half a chopped green or red bell pepper for the jalapeno peppers in this recipe.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

The leftover baked beans can be stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Reheat the beans in a skillet or saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat until hot and bubbling.

How Long to Smoke Baked Beans at 250

This recipe calls for smoking the beans low and slow at 225 degrees F, but if you’re smoking other things and prefer a temperature of 250 F just shorten the cooking time to about 2 hours. Stir the beans every 30 minutes, and if they start to dry out just stir in a little water to the pan.

More Popular Bacon Side Dish Recipes

If you love the way bacon adds flavor to your favorite side dishes, you’ll love these recipes:

Be sure to check out our roundups, too: 15 Best Side Dishes with Bacon and What to Serve with Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

Here’s the full, printable recipe:

Smoked baked beans with bacon and brown sugar in a cast iron skillet.

Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon

Eliza Cross
This easy baked beans recipe features tender beans smoked with bacon and brown sugar, jalapenos, onions and seasonings until hot, bubbling and just perfect!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Bacon Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 364 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound thick-sliced smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion,  diced
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cans (15 ounces) pork and beans drained
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular or nonalcoholic beer (or substitute beef broth)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat smoker and add wood following manufacturer’s instructions. Heat to 225 degrees F.
  • In a large cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat on the stovetop until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  • Pour out all but 1 tablespoon drippings., add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, beer, molasses, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and half the bacon. Stir until combined thoroughly.
  • Place uncovered skillet in smoker, close lid, and smoke until beans are hot and bubbling, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Stir beans every 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and adjust seasonings before serving, if needed.

Notes

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger crowds. Just use a larger skillet and increase cooking time.
The leftover baked beans can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days.
Reheat the beans in a skillet or saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat until hot and bubbling.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcalCarbohydrates: 45.7gProtein: 17.6gFat: 13.3gSaturated Fat: 4.4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 1456mgPotassium: 704mgFiber: 5.6gSugar: 24.4gCalcium: 101mgIron: 5mg
Keyword baked beans, beans, cookout, picnic, side dishes, smoked, smoker, smoker recipe
Tried this recipe? Show us on IG!Tag us at @BensaBaconLovers!

Got questions? Just ask! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon recipe, I’d be thrilled if you clicked the little stars above and gave the recipe a 5-star rating.

You might also enjoy the web story for Smoker Baked Beans with Bacon.

If you post your creations on social media, tag #BENSABaconLovers so I can share! Thank you for your support. – Eliza

Nutrition Disclaimer: All nutritional information shared on this site is an approximation. I am not a certified nutritionist, and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline.

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin:

A finished skillet of smoked baked beans with bacon.
eliza

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

9 thoughts on “Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar”

  1. 5 stars
    I’m starving right now just looking at these pictures! Baked beans are one of my favorite sides when barbecue season comes around. I can’t wait to try this smoked version. They look amazing.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    You cant go wrong with having bacon and beans together! This is one tasty side dish with all the sweet and savory flavors!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    This is comfort food to the max! It’s so nostalgic for me too, since I loved beans and weiners as a kid but of course we used canned “baked beans” and it was cut up hot dog instead of bacon. Obviously not as grand as this, lol.

    Reply

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