These smoked baked beans have the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. Make this recipe for a summer potluck or just to go with dinner!
Having an easy baked beans recipe on hand is the key to a good barbecue menu. Tender beans and crispy bacon in a sweet and tangy glaze are a delicious side dish for burgers, steak, and pulled pork or chicken sandwiches.
What makes this baked beans smoker recipe unique is the cooking method. By using a smoker instead of the stove or a slow cooker, the beans are infused with an extra smoky flavor that you can’t get any other way.
Plus, it won’t heat up your kitchen because most of the cooking is done outside!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Bacon – Any kind will do, but a thick-cut variety will make the flavor more noticeable.
- Jalapeño – Replace with a serrano pepper to add some extra spice and heat.
- Beans – Dried beans can be used in place of canned. Either soak them the night before, or use this quick-soak method before cooking.
- Dark molasses – There are different types of molasses depending on how many times the syrup has been boiled. Dark molasses has been boiled twice, so it’s thicker and not as sweet as light molasses. It also has just a hint of bitterness to it.
- BBQ sauce – Use your favorite store-bought or homemade variety.
To make this smoked baked beans recipe more filling, add cooked and seasoned ground beef, chicken, or turkey. It becomes more of a chili consistency, which is perfect if you want to make this more of a complete meal.
How to make smoked baked beans
Everything is cooked in the same pot, so use a large one that can withstand high temperatures such as a dutch oven. Also, give yourself plenty of time since the beans take about 3 hours to cook in the smoker, not including prep time.
- Preheat smoker: First, add the wood chips and turn on the smoker, which can take up to 45 minutes to heat up. Pecan and cherry wood both have a mild flavor, but feel free to use your preferred wood chips.
- Cook bacon: Add bacon pieces to a pot on the stove and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, leaving the fat in the pot.
- Saute veggies and garlic: Next, cook the onions in the bacon fat until they have some color. Stir in the garlic and chopped jalapeno and cook for another minute.
- Mix ingredients together: Combine the remaining ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.
- Smoke beans: Then, place the pot in the smoker and cook until done. Leave the pot uncovered to help the liquid thicken to a glaze. Stir in the cooked bacon before serving.
- Storage – Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating – Heat in the microwave or simmer on the stove until warmed through.
- Handling peppers – It’s best to wear gloves when handling jalapeños, especially when seeding. The oils can burn when transferred to the skin or eyes, and it’s easy to miss some spots when washing with soap and water.
- Slow cooker – If you don’t have a smoker, you can still make this smoked baked beans recipe. Cook according to one of the three methods found here, but add about 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke with the rest of the ingredients. It won’t taste quite the same, but it should be close enough.
MORE SUMMER SIDE DISH RECIPES
For another easy baked beans recipe, try my Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans. Otherwise, here are some other side dishes that are perfect for a cookout:
Smoked Baked Beans
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 cups red onion (about 1 large onion)
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
- 2 15 oz cans pinto beans rinsed drained (See Note 1)
- 2 15 oz cans white beans rinsed drained (See Note 1)
- 1 cup favorite BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Preheat your smoker to 250°F. I like to use pecan or cherry wood for this one.
- Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook bacon in a large skillet (cast iron) or Dutch oven over medium heat until rendered and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain and set aside. Leave bacon fat in pan.
- Add onions to pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño and stir for a minute.
- Add drained beans, BBQ sauce, vinegar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil. Carefully transfer to smoker and bake 3 hours uncovered, until liquid thickens and beans are glazed (See Note 2). Add cooked bacon, stir through and serve.
- Feel free to use dried beans instead of canned. Pre-soak dry beans the night before and cook. For a QUICK METHOD READ THIS.
- OPTION: add 1 pound of cooked and seasoned ground beef, chicken or turkey if you like. I do this often to bulk up the dish for a dinner, completely optional.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.