All of the best and most indulgent things come together for these Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans. Just saying it sounds a little naughty. Pork belly. Bourbon. Baked Beans. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. This is the side dish that will upstage any main course that makes it to the party. Honestly, I’d be cool if you just served these beans as the main course and skipped the other stuff. These baked beans are layered with flavor in every bite. From the rich, almost sweet, apple braised pork belly to the firm and savory beans every single bite will battle your inner inhibitions to burst out in song while eating.
Pork belly is a pretty fun ingredient to work with and it’s been readily available (and dang affordable) at several stores lately. My favorite place to stock up is Costco. I’ll buy a whole slab and turn most of it into homemade bacon and reserve a special section just for these beautiful meaty baked beans. Pork belly is pretty darn fatty, but that means that the meat running through there is ridiculously flavorful and tender.
I cooked this whole batch of beans on my smoker, but you can just as easily do the recipe on your stove top! Your best friend is going to be a heavy duty cast iron skillet because it will evenly distribute the heat throughout the long cook. These beans are pretty low maintenance to make… just a lot of dumping, covering, and simmering. If you’ve never made baked beans before, this recipe will have you wondering why you spent so many years warming up that canned stuff.
Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans
- 3 pounds pork belly skin removed and fatty side scored in 1 inch squares
- 2 cups unfiltered apple juice or cider
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 16 oz cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 2 16 oz cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
Pork Belly Rub
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the Pork Belly Rub. Liberally season the entire pork belly with the rub.
- Start up your smoker. You're looking for a lot of thin blue smoke and about 225 degrees. Once the grill is smoking, place the seasoned pork belly fat side up on the grill grate and close the lid. Smoke for 2 hours.
- In a large dutch oven, combine the apple juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and bourbon. Remove the pork belly from the grill and place in the dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, return to the grill and increase your grill temperature to 275 degrees.
- Cook for an additional 2 hours, or until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork. Drain excess liquid from the Dutch oven and set aside. Shred the pork belly, removing any excess fat.
- Return the shredded pork belly to the Dutch oven. Stir in the beans, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and return to the grill. Cook for 2 more hours or until the ingredients are well combined and at the consistency you like. Add additional BBQ sauce if you like your beans a little thinner!