Combine a mix of beans, add some smoky flavor, and spice it up with jalapenos and you have a delicious side dish for your BBQ feast. That’s why when I think of BBQs and cookouts, my must-have dish is this smoky and loaded BBQ baked beans.
Smoky loaded with flavor, this BBQ baked beans recipe is the perfect companion to any smoked or grilled main dish, making it the best choice for every summer get-together.
The key to ensuring your BBQ beans are packed with flavor is low and slow cooking. You can prepare your slow-cooked beans side dish the night before your cookout. Or start them in the morning and give them time to cook all day so they’re ready to enjoy at dinnertime.
What You’ll Need:
- Olive oil
- Smoked bacon or pancetta
- Yellow onion
- Red pepper
- Yellow pepper
- Green pepper
- Jalapeno pepper
- Minced garlic
- Kidney beans
- Great Northern beans
- Mixed beans
- BBQ sauce
- Dark brown sugar
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Liquid smoke
How to Make BBQ Beans:
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and cook over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and place it on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Add the diced onions and garlic, along with the red, yellow, green, and jalapeno peppers, to the pan with the bacon drippings. Saute the ingredients until the peppers are tender and the onions are translucent.
- Add the kidney beans, Great Northern beans, and mixed beans to the pan with the vegetables. Top all the ingredients with BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and mustard, then season with salt and pepper. Pour in the liquid smoke and stir until all the ingredients are combined.
- Sprinkle half the cooked bacon over the pan and stir to combine. Reserve the remaining bacon until just before serving.
- Turn the heat to low and continue cooking the beans for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. The longer the beans are cooked, the more flavor they’ll have. Cook the beans up to three hours for best results.
What do You Eat With BBQ Slow-Baked Beans?
There are so many great main dishes that pair well with BBQ baked beans, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what to serve with this classic side. Try these ideas the next time you’re trying to come up with a menu for your cookout:
- Hamburgers and hot dogs. You can’t go wrong with a classic! Grill some hamburgers and hot dogs and set out a variety of toppings for your guests to choose from. The grilled sandwiches will go perfectly with the smokey flavor of the beans.
- BBQ sandwiches. Use your smoker to make pulled meat for BBQ sandwiches. You can serve smoked pork, chicken, or turkey shredded and topped with BBQ sauce for a simple dinner idea to go with your beans.
- Ribs. Cook a slab of ribs on the grill and enjoy the fall off the bone flavor with your baked beans.
- Baked ham. There’s no reason you need to fire up your grill to enjoy the smoky flavor of BBQ beans. This delicious side also pairs well with ham, making it a great option for any holiday gathering, too.
- Steaks. Skip the classic sides, like baked potatoes, the next time you’re making steaks, whip up these spicy beans instead.
- Fried chicken. KFC serves baked beans with their fried chicken, so why not make a pan of your own BBQ baked beans the next time you’re making homemade chicken?
- Leftovers? Any leftovers would be amazing served as breakfast! Try baked beans and toast to start your day or as a light dinner. So good!
Tips and Tricks
This simple baked beans recipe is a delicious option for any BBQ. And with these tips and tricks, you’re sure to have the perfect side to bring to your next cookout.
- Don’t forget to drain your beans. To keep your beans from getting soupy, always drain the water from the cans before adding them to the pan. It’s also a good idea to rinse your canned beans to remove extra juice and sauce from the outside of the beans before cooking them.
- Increase the heat with more peppers. For spicy BBQ baked beans, toss in extra jalapeno peppers. You can add up to four diced jalapeno peppers for more heat.
- Use a cast iron pan for even cooking. When cooking low and slow recipes, cast iron is your best option. A cast-iron pan holds and evenly distributes heat better than traditional pans, allowing you to cook your beans more evenly without burning them.
Make-ahead for quicker day-of cooking. Since these beans take a while to cook, you may want to consider making them ahead if you’ll be busy prepping other dishes for your BBQ. The beans can be prepared the day before, covered, and refrigerated. When you’re ready to reheat your beans, warm them over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Other summer recipes to try:
- Spinach Salad with Feta Dressing
- Brown Butter Candied Pecan Ice Cream
- Scarlett O’Hara Southern Comfort Cocktail
- Tres Leche Cake
- Fermented Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Let’s celebrate summer foods!
How to Make Smoked BBQ Baked Beans:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound smoky bacon or pancetta, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (optional)
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 (15 ounces) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounces) can great northern beans, drained
- 3 (13 ounces) cans mixed beans, drained
- 1 - 18 ounces bottle of BBQ sauce, basic or original flavor
- 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- In a large pan, add olive oil over medium-high heat then add in the diced smoky bacon, frequently stirring and cooking until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve Bacon for later.
- Keep the bacon drippings and add in the diced onions, all of the peppers, and minced garlic, sautéeing until onions are translucent.
- Add the drained beans to the sautéed veggies, along with the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke, and half of the crispy bacon, mixing well.
- Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour, but best if it can be simmered for 2 - 3 hours for incredible flavor.
- Garnish with the remaining crispy bacon at the end, serve and enjoy!
If you prefer more "heat", simply add 2 - 4 diced jalapeno peppers when sautéeing the veggies.
Can be made the day before, cover and refrigerate overnight, then gently warmed up about 30 minutes to 1 hour over medium-low heat just before you're ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 2166mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 6gSugar: 42gProtein: 22g
Original post 6/13/2017; Updated 5/17/2021
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.