Southern Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon Recipe

Learn how to make the best homemade Southern Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon recipe!

This classic American brunch and barbeque side dish is also known as Smoked BBQ Beans.

This quick & easy Smoked Baked Beans recipe features liquid smoke, infusing the dish with barbecue flavour without having to fire up the outdoor smoker or grill.

You’ll love feasting on our homemade Smoked Baked Beans recipe featuring bacon, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, liquid hickory smoke, red pepper flakes and canned navy beans.

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Save our Southern Smoked Baked Beans recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Southern Smoked Baked Beans recipe to Pinterest!

What Are Smoked Baked Beans?

Today baked beans are a cupboard staple and a popular easy and economical meal enjoyed around the world.

Whether you’re enjoying beans on toast in the United Kingdom, molasses smoked baked beans in the American South or beans prepared with maple syrup in Canada, there’s no doubt baked beans are a popular meal for millions of food lovers.

Culinary historians agree that smoked baked beans originated through Native American cuisine, specifically in dishes cooked by indigenous peoples in the northeast and belonging to tribes such as the Iroquois, Narragansett and Penobscot.

Indigenous cooks baked beans in earthenware pots with maple syrup, and sometimes venison meat and even bear fat. The dish was prized for its high protein, calorie and fat content.

Puritan Christian pilgrims, arriving on the east coast of America from Europe during the 17th-century, learned the indigenous recipes. As their religion forbade cooking on the sabbath, pilgrims cooked the beans as a Saturday supper, kept them warm in a wood-fired oven and ate them for breakfast after church on Sundays.

The recipe was adapted throughout New England, but the city most associated with the story of beans is Boston, Massachusetts, also known as Beantown. Boston baked beans are made with molasses for an especially rich, caramel-sweet dish, along with salt pork, black pepper and, sometimes, onion. It’s been suggested that since Boston was an epicentre for rum production – the byproduct of molasses was plentiful.

My favourite iteration of the classic recipe is Smoked Baked Beans, which I associate with my travels to the Southern US at award winning African American restaurants.

Easy Smoked Baked Beans recipe ingredients.
Easy Smoked Baked Beans recipe ingredients.

Travel to America by Eating Smoked BBQ Beans at Home

I love traveling to America!

As a professional food and travel journalist I’ve had the opportunity to eat my way through award winning restaurants and historic markets across the US.

I’ve forked my way through memorable meals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and District of Columbia.

What I love most about traveling throughout America is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The Soul Food dishes in New Orleans and Savannah are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Portland, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu or Detroit.

Looking to embark on a baked bean pilgrimage? You could plan a scenic drive through New England, the region most associated with dish, by making stops at restaurants in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. 

Or head down south, tasting your way through Soul Food kitchens and popular barbeque restaurants from Texas to Louisiana.

Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon are often served at breakfast or brunch with fried eggs, toast and hash brown potatoes. Visit a Southern barbecue restaurant and you’ll find Smoked BBQ Beans served as a side dish with pork ribs, mac & cheese, cornbread, pickles, coleslaw and collard greens.

Once back home from an American road trip you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the popular side dish and can impress friends and family by making our easy Smoked Baked Beans recipe.

Fry bacon in a skillet and chop bell pepper, onion and garlic.
Fry bacon in a skillet and chop bell pepper, onion and garlic.

My Family Loves Smoked Baked Beans

After eating my way through award winning Soul Food restaurants in Portland, Denver, Scottsdale, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Austin, I came home determined to tantalize my family’s taste buds.

I grew up eating canned smoked baked beans so I knew my family would love this homemade from scratch recipe featuring sweet molasses and crispy bacon. Growing up we typically enjoyed a scoop of Smoked BBQ Beans with scrambled eggs and waffles or pancakes.

This Smoked Baked Beans recipe is simultaneously sweet, smokey and a tad spicy. Since the portion size serves a crowd, we like to prepare it for brunch during special occasions like Easter, Father’s Day and Christmas.

Smoked Baked Beans are flavoured with ketchup, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and red pepper flakes.
Smoked Baked Beans are flavoured with ketchup, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and red pepper flakes.

Health Benefits

Our homemade Smoked Baked Beans recipe is packed full of wholesome ingredients!

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Bell Peppers are an incredible source of vitamins C and A, which support your skin and immune system. They also provide beneficial carotenoid compounds such as beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.

Beans are rich in cancer-fighting vitamin C, energy-boosting B vitamins, and gut-healthy fibre.

Add canned navy beans and crispy bacon to the smoky sauce.
Add canned navy beans and crispy bacon to the smoky sauce.

Cooking Tips

This Smoked Baked Beans recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We’ve used thick slices of smoked bacon for this recipe but you could use maple flavoured or classic breakfast bacon.
  • We’ve used Spanish onion in this recipe but you could substitute with sweet Vidalia onion or shallots.
  • We’ve used Red Bell Pepper for this recipe but you could substitute with Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper.
  • We’ve used Red Pepper Flakes to give a little heat to this recipe but you could also use your favourite sliced chilies or jalapeno peppers. If you can’t handle the heat, feel free to omit.
  • We’ve used canned navy beans in this recipe but you could prepare the dish using dried navy beans soaked overnight.
  • Smoked Baked Beans would traditionally be prepared over an open fire or in an outdoor smoker. This recipe has been made easy by simply adding hickory flavouring with store bought liquid smoke, which you can buy at your grocery store or order on Amazon.
  • If you’re preparing this recipe for vegans or vegetarians feel free to omit the bacon.
Smoked Baked Beans topped with crispy strips of bacon.
Smoked Baked Beans topped with crispy strips of bacon.

When To Serve Smoked Baked Beans

Smoked Baked Beans are so versatile you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We like to serve this dish for special celebrations like Father’s Day breakfast, on Christmas morning or Easter brunch.

If you’re a fan of southern barbecue, prepare these Smoked BBQ Beans as a side dish at lunch or dinner with pulled pork, beef brisket, baby back ribs and crispy fried wings.

Smoked BBQ Beans are a popular brunch dish or side dish for a barbecue feast.
Smoked BBQ Beans are a popular brunch dish or side dish for a barbecue feast.

What To Serve with Smoked BBQ Beans

Serving Smoked Baked Beans in the morning at brunch?

We suggest serving the dish with other popular breakfast recipes like Buckwheat Gluten Free Porridge, Sourdough French Toast, Eggo Waffles, Kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns, Breakfast Polenta Bowl, Blueberry Mango Crepes, Banana Oat Flour Pancakes, Chocolate Cherry Pancakes with Ricotta or Baileys French Toast.

If you’re hosting a southern BBQ dinner party or potluck for a crowd you might want to serve Smoked Baked Beans alongside some of our favorite side dishes like Jalapeno Poppers, Mexican Queso, Nachos, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Potato Skins, and Cherry Pecan Kale Salad.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Turmeric Pumpkin Spice Indian Cake, Jordgubbstårta Gluten Free Swedish Strawberry Meringue Cake, Rhubarb Strawberry Dutch Baby German Pancakes, Flaky Swedish Rhubarb Cherry Pie or Creamy Lemon Angel Pie.

We love serving these easy Smoked Baked Beans for Christmas brunch.
We love serving these easy Smoked Baked Beans for Christmas brunch.

You May Also Enjoy Cooking…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Bacon Smoked Baked Beans recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Bacon Smoked Baked Beans recipe!

Best Bacon Smoked Baked Beans Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Smoked BBQ Beans with Bacon

How to make the best Smoked Baked Beans. Our easy brunch BBQ side dish recipe features navy beans, crispy bacon, bell peppers and molasses.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Baked Beans
Servings: 8
Calories: 669kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • Nonstick Skillet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Casserole dish
  • mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients

  • 6 Bacon slices
  • 1 cup Spanish Onion minced
  • 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 19 oz Navy Bean Cans

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cut 3 slices of bacon into 1-inch strips. In a skillet, cook the cut bacon until browned and crispy. Use tongs to remove bacon to a paper towels to drain.
  • In the same skillet, saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until tender and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke, pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. Mix well. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the beans, their liquid, the sauce, and the cooked bacon. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Place the remaining 3 slices of bacon on top of the beans. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, increase the temperature to 425 F, and bake for 15 minutes more to brown the bacon.

Nutrition

Calories: 669kcal | Carbohydrates: 125.5g | Protein: 33.9g | Fat: 5.4g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 2111mg | Fiber: 35.3g | Sugar: 39g | Calcium: 277mg | Iron: 9mg

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