Smoked Baked Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon

June 8, 2018

Baked beans are a BBQ side dish staple.  Nothing goes better with a perfectly grilled burger than a spoonful of slightly sweetened, slow smoked baked beans loaded with bacon and a slight jalapeno kick.

smoked baked beans in a bowl

Smoked Baked Beans

Regular baked beans are delicious. Smoked baked beans are what side dish fantasies are made of. I’ve been working on a good baked beans recipe for a long time and I’ve tried them all. I am a lover of all beans in all varieties, but my ideal combination for the perfect smoked baked beans is the balance of sweet and heat with the right amount of smoke.

My recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman, because I think she nailed the base for the sauce. However, I knew I could amplify what was there with jalapenos, peppered bacon, and (obviously) real wood smoke! I wanted these beans to be a true BBQ side dish that could easily cook alongside whatever else you’ve got running in the smoker at 225 or 250 degrees F. Honestly, most hard or fruit woods work great with this dish, so just use whatever you’ve already got running in your smoker. My only caution would be mesquite. That stuff is strong and can overwhelm your beans.

Smoked Baked Beans on the Grill in a cast iron skillet

Tips for Smoked Baked Beans

These smoked baked beans are easy enough to throw together in 15 minutes because of the use of canned pork n beans. I’ve made a pork belly baked beans recipe where I soak my beans and cook everything from scratch (and it is DELICIOUS!), but sometimes you need a little bit of a shortcut when you’ve already been smoking a brisket for 15 hours. The canned beans give me the shortcut I needed without losing out on flavor.

I prefer to smoke my baked beans in a cast iron skillet. This allows me to do the whole process in one pan, which makes for much easier clean-up. These are slightly acidic beans, so many people worry about it stripping the seasoning. I just make sure it is well seasoned before I start cooking and swipe with a thin layer of oil after cooking and it works great.

This recipe calls for thick sliced bacon. I prefer it because each person gets their own nice thick piece of bacon. The bacon doesn’t really get super crisp, just rendered and incredibly tender. If you want the bacon to be even more tender and fall-apart, go with a thinner sliced bacon and use a couple more slices of it. If you want the bacon to be crisp, broil the skillet of beans for 2-3 minutes after pulling it off of the smoker. Watch closely so the sugar in the beans doesn’t burn.

Baked Beans Recipe

smoked baked beans

Smoked Baked Beans

4.63 from 8 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 3 hrs
Total Time : 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings : 12 people



  • 6 slices thick cut peppered bacon (halved)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 jalapenos (or 1 green bell pepper for less heat) (seeds and stems removed, diced)
  • 2 28 oz cans pork and beans
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (links to my favorite homemade sauces are in the recipe notes)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses


  • Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F using any mild or fruit wood. I really like pecan with this recipe.
  • Preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cook the bacon pieces for 2-3 minutes per side. Long enough to render fat, but not long enough to crisp thoroughly. 
  • Remove the bacon pieces to a plate with a paper towel on top so they can drain. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and add the onions and jalapenos. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they have softened and the onions are slightly translucent.
  • Pour the cans of beans (liquid and all) into the pan. Add in the barbecue sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and molasses. Stir to combine.
  • Place the slices of bacon on top of the beans and head out to the smoker.
  • Smoke, uncovered, for about 3 hours, or until nearly all of the fat has rendered from the bacon and the beans have thickened up nicely. Remove from the smoker and serve while warm.


Ready to Become a Backyard BBQ Hero?Join The Grill Squad today!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information on them, visit our Privacy Policy

68 thoughts on “Smoked Baked Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon

    1. Of course! Thighs tend to hold up a little better without getting dried out, so I would just hold off on adding the breasts until you’re about ready to serve. Then stir them in to heat them through.

  1. Instead of using a smoker for these baked beans I would rather just bake them. What temperature and for how long?

  2. Do not have a cast iron skillet. What do you suggest using? These sounds so good I can almost smell & taste them. LOL

  3. One of my “tricks” when smoking baked beans is that they go in the bottom tray of my Bradley smoker so whatever meats I am smoking the drippings drip into the beans. Once the beans are done I use a spoon to spoon off the excess grease. The flavors with the meat juice and smoke is divine!

  4. Hi,

    I’m in the UK and I don’t think we sell Pork and Beans in the same can – Can just a normal tin of beans be ok?

    1. They should work fine. If they are just plain beans, you might want to add a little more BBQ sauce to the recipe when you make this one. Let me know how it turns out so our other friends in the UK can enjoy this one as well. Thanks!

    2. Very late reply, but anytime I come across pork and beans in a recipe. I use the Heinz beans in ham sauce and add a bit of cooked, chopped bacon. Basically turns into the same thing.
      I’m an American living in Australia so only just assuming you guys would have a similar product up there.

  5. I am limited in smoker space since I’ll be doing a brisket as well. Can this be made a day or two ahead and if so, any recommendations on reheating method?

  6. I’m assuming you don’t stir your beans since the bacon is on top. So my only concern is getting the smoke flavor to the whole skillet of beans. Any thoughts on this? Do you get the smoke flavor throughout the whole skillet or just the top layer?

  7. 2 questions
    1. I don’t have any molasses. Is just adding extra brown sugar ok?
    2. I have a cast iron pan I could use. But was thinking of using a throw away aluminum pan. Lots of people coming today, so would love easier clean up. Thoughts on the aluminum pan vs the cast iron?


    1. If I can weigh in here. It’s fine with extra brown sugar but you will lose most of the strong earthy taste that you would get with the molasses. At only two tablespoons you may not even miss it but molasses is its own unique thing with its own unique set of flavors. In a pinch, go with the brown. If you can, find molasses, and use it by the heaping tablespoon.

  8. Could I use canned baked beans for this recipe? If so would I just add the bacon? We like Bush baked beans. We don’t like it too sweet so I’m thinking of adding a can of pork and beans to cut the sweet somewhat.

  9. I just made your bean dish however I added 8 oz of chopped polish sausage and I chopped the bacon. I couldn’t be happier. Best beans ever bar nun. Thanks pal. Well done!

    1. This is over a year later, but I have not used the Dijon mustard, but always put mustard powder in my bean recipes

  10. I made these for Father’s Day. They turned out great! I substituted black beans and kidney beans instead of pork and beans. Smoked them then broiled for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce. My wife loved the beans.

  11. Made this for the 4th of July, these were the best baked beans we have ever tasted! Amazing recipe- will be making these again!

  12. I tried your recipe and it is the go to recipe for my family , seriously these are the best beans ever , we have a smoker so I do them in there , they are so tasty and easy to do , thank you for Sharing this recipe

  13. This is a great recipe. Used 2 Aluminum foil pans and put jalapenos in one and red peppers in the other. I followed the rest of the recipe exactly as posted. They were a hit at my bbq. I will definitely make these again. I enjoy reading how other people have added to the recipe.

  14. I made this recipe yesterday and it was great. I smoked on traeger pellet grill for 3 hours. I used apple pellets. The only thing I was disappointed in was I didn’t taste much smoke at all. Maybe I’ll use hickory pellets next time.

  15. We are in lockdown here in NZ! Saw recipe give it a go. No Dijon, too bad! Added smoked paprika, no molasses used golden syrup, added last of home made harissa, used red kidney beans, leftover last nights beef casserole went in. Smoking at the moment low and slow at 3 hours, might be too long! Gas canister 1/2 full. See how we go. Anyway, it will be delicious I’m sure.

  16. I was preparing for this recipe and grabbed bush’s original baked beans instead of pork and beans not realizing there was a difference. Is using regular baked beans (seasoned with bacon and brown sugar already) fine or will it come out too sweet? I will probably still cook the bacon but should I use less brown sugar or none at all?

      1. Checked the store and they were out of Pork and Beans unfortunately. What would you suggest going forward using the Baked Beans?

  17. Experimented with different beans and always come back to bushes baked beans homestyle. Tweaked to perfection. Thanks to your excellent start.Hey Grill Hey.

  18. Hi! I recently purchased a vertical smoker and am having so much fun following your recipes, thank you! I’ve been baking homemade baked beans for years and see all sorts of recipes for smoked baked beans, but using canned beans. Any recommendations for smoking homemade baked beans? I’m assuming I can probably bake them as usual, but take them out early before all the liquid cooks down and place them in the smoker to finish them off? I’d love to hear any suggestions or recommendations you wouldn’t mind sharing! Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating