Quick and Smoky Baked Beans



Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Indirect Grilling Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Barbecue Bible

By Steven Raichlen

Published 1998

  • About

Not everyone has the time to make baked beans from scratch. This recipe starts with canned beans, but a quick smoke on the grill produces such rich flavor, you’d swear the beans had been cooked for hours. For the best results, add a couple of cups of diced barbecued pork, ham, or brisket and/or meat drippings left over from a previous cookout.


  • 4 thick-cut slices of bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into ¼-inch slivers
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cans (each 15 ounces) Great Northern or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 to 2 cups diced smoked or barbecued pork, ham, or brisket (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon barbecued meat drippings (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special Equipment

2 cups wood chips or chunks, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained


  1. Place the bacon in a large, heavy pot and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the beans, brown sugar, molasses, barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, prepared mustard, cider vinegar, pork (if using), and drippings (if using). Transfer the beans to a baking dish (an aluminum-foil turkey pan works well).

  3. Set up the grill for indirect grilling. No drip pan is necessary for this recipe.

    If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat to high; when smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium.

    If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium.

  4. When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss all of the wood chips on the coals. Place the baking pan with the beans in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Smoke roast the beans until thick and richly flavored, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once.