Enjoy a simple recipe of easy cowboy baked beans that is a standard family recipe for any picnic or barbecue. My mom has a bean pot that she had painted when I was young. She would always use the bean pot for these baked beans.
These beans taste great when made ahead (even the day before). While you can start with dried beans for baked beans, this recipe simplifies the process by using canned pork and beans. Using drained canned beans removes that “tin-like” taste that can come from processed foods. Your taste buds will never know that you haven’t been beans from scratch.
Start with The Southern Holy Trinity
The combination of onion, celery, and green pepper are exclusive to Cajan or Creole cuisine as featured in this recipe. The combination of these aromatics gives a foundation to the dish that is more than the flavor of each individual ingredient. Cut the onion, green pepper, and celery into a small to medium dice so the pieces are still distinct in each serving of cowboy baked beans.
What is Liquid Smoke
If you make this dish in the oven it can still taste like it was cooked over a campfire with a small amount of liquid smoke. This natural byproduct of smoke combining with colder air is distilled to remove the soot or ash to produce a yellow-brown liquid that is then bottled. It is found near the condiment section of the grocery aisle. (Most stores only carry one or two varieties so you may have to look carefully to find it.) Once opened the bottle can be stored in the pantry for several years.
While some purists would never use liquid smoke it is a common ingredient in commercial barbecue sauces, marinades, smoked meats, or smoked cheese. So don’t neglect this tool to add a view drops to bump up the barbecue flavor in many foods.
Something Sweet or Something Sour in Easy Cowboy Baked Beans
My mom’s recipe has listed something sweet and something sour. When cooking, you can often interchange sweet ingredients to produce the same flavor (think molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey). This is different than in baking where the liquid or dry ingredients can not be substituted without affecting the chemistry of the dish.
For something sour, you can use dill pickle juice, sweet pickle relish, or apple cider vinegar. These ingredients are vastly different in texture so keep that in mind and taste the dish to make sure the flavor is where you like it. The acidity of the sour ingredients amplifies the other flavors in the dish just like salt does.Print
Easy cowboy baked beans are a great side dish for any barbecue. Enjoy this simple recipe that can be done on the oven or the smoker.
- 4 slices of bacon, sliced and browned (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 small onion, cut into small to medium dice, (about 1–1/2 cups)
- 3 celery stalks, cut into small to medium dice, (about 1 cup)
- 1 green pepper, cut into small to medium dice, (about 1 cup)
- 3 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans, drained
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons molasses (or something sweet)
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice (or something sour)
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325°F or if using a smoker, preheat the smoker anywhere between 225°F -325°F.
- In a medium or large saucepan with an oven-safe handle, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and then remove and crumble and set aside.
- Dice the onion, celery, and green pepper and add to the bacon fat in the pan and cause until the vegetables are aromatic and the onion becomes translucent about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and add more sour ingredients if the flavor is flat.
- Using hot pads, place the cowboy baked beans to the oven or smoker. (You can transfer the baked beans to a decorative casserole dish or bean pot that you want to serve in at this point.)
- Cook in preheated oven or smoker for 2 hours (or more if smoking at a lower temperature) until thick and bubbly.
- Serve warm.
Something sweet can be molasses, maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar.
Something sour can be the juice from dill pickles, sweet pickle relish, apple cider vinegar, etc.
Keywords: baked beans