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Smoked Baked Beans

Smoked baked beans - finished and ready to eat
This recipe was first posted in June 2017 and updated in May 2021.

Smoked Baked Beans

Baked beans might just be the ultimate side dish for a BBQ. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a barbecue joint that didn’t have baked beans on their menu. You might say baked beans are as traditional as pickles and white bread on a BBQ platter. Speaking of BBQ, if you’re a fan of a big ol’ platter of BBQ, you’ll love my BBQ platter sandwich.

I’ve been doing versions of baked beans for years but these smoked baked beans with bacon top the list in terms of flavor. You’ll love the rustic campfire taste these smoked beans have after a few hours on your grill or smoker. This recipe goes great with any of my pulled pork recipes, especially the smoked pork shoulder.

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I have done this recipe with both dried beans (soaked overnight) and with precooked plain great northern beans from a can. I find no difference in flavor, but the canned beans are much easier, though slightly more expensive.

How Can I Make Baked Beans Taste Good?

We’ve all had average baked beans in the past, they’re like boxed mac ‘n cheese. They fill your belly, but they’re nothing to write home about. So what makes these smoked baked beans next level? The smoke! You’ll be amazed at the difference kissing baked beans with some smoke will do.

Think of smoke as an ingredient, it’s that important. But, not all smoke is good smoke and dirty smoke will have your baked beans tasting like creosote, and that’s just gross. To get the best quality and cleanest smoke, you need to start with the highest quality hickory chunks available. I highly encourage you to give this stuff a try for that nice clean hickory wood flavor. 

Tips for Making the Best Smoked Baked Beans

Pan selection: I use a standard cast iron skillet, but you can also use a disposable aluminum pan. I don’t recommend using a fancy Dutch oven as the smoke will discolor it and make it difficult to clean.

Use unseasoned beans: There are plenty of baked bean recipes floating around that are essentially just ways to enhance canned baked beans. I feel like using something like pork and beans to start with takes away the ability to control the flavor, so start with plain great northern beans and make them your own. They are available at just about every grocery store or on Amazon.

Own the recipe: I love the recipe just as it is, but if you find these too sweet, cut down on the brown sugar. Not enough heat for you? Add some extra jalapeño, etc.

Smoked Baked Beans Recipe

Serves: 10 | Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients
8 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced into 1” pieces
60 ounces canned great northern beans
1 cup brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup ketchup
2 tbsp cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil

How to Make Smoked Baked Beans

Step 1: Light your grill and set up for two-zone cooking, establishing temperature at 225° F while you prep your ingredients.

ingredients for smoked baked beans

Step 2: Heat vegetable oil in the pan over medium high heat and add bacon pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes in order to render some fat from the bacon, but avoid crisping the bacon. Remove bacon from the pan.

bacon cleared from the pot

Step 3: To the rendered bacon fat, add the garlic, onions, and jalapeño and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly till onion has softened.

Step 4: Add the bacon and all remaining ingredients back to the pan.

bacon and vegetables cooking

Step 5: Mix ingredients thoroughly, and move pan to grill over indirect heat as far away from hot coals as possible. Place the hickory chunk into the hot coals and close the lid on your grill.

smoked baked beans resting with hickory chunk and wooden spoon

Step 6: Cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally (about every hour) and serve.

smoked baked beans with spoon in pot

Smoked Baked Bean Recipe

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Smoked baked beans - finished and ready to eat

Smoked Baked Beans

5 from 31 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon sliced into 1" pieces
  • 60 ounces canned great northern beans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion roughly chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Light your grill and set up for two-zone cooking, establishing temperature at 225° F while you prep your ingredients.
  • Heat vegetable oil in the pan over medium high heat and add bacon pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes in order to render some fat from the bacon, but avoid crisping the bacon. Remove bacon from the pan.
  • To the rendered bacon fat, add the garlic, onions, and jalapeño and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly till onion has softened.
  • Add the bacon and all remaining ingredients back to the pan.
  • Mix ingredients thoroughly, and move pan to grill over indirect heat as far away from hot coals as possible. Place the hickory chunk into the hot coals and close the lid on your grill.
  • Cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally (about every hour) and serve.

Notes

Baked beans might just be the ultimate side dish for a BBQ. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a barbecue joint that didn’t have baked beans on their menu. You might say baked beans are as traditional as pickles and white bread on a BBQ platter. Speaking of BBQ, if you’re a fan of a big ‘ol platter of BBQ, you’ll love my BBQ platter sandwich.

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