Smoked BBQ Baked Beans [Easy Southern Side Dish]

Smoked barbecue beans cooked low and slow over wood for the ultimate BBQ side dish. With added brown sugar, BBQ sauce, and bacon, there’s a punch of flavor in every mouthful.

smoked barbecue beans recipe

Have you ever had a baked beans dish that was so good, it could bring people to tears? That’s what I wanted to do when I tasted my first smoked BBQ baked beans recipe. The taste is amazing- sweet and tangy with a little bit of heat in the end.

If you’re looking for a delicious smoked side dish to go with your brisket or ribs there’s no better choice than these BBQ baked beans. They’re easy to make from scratch and have the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors that’s beloved in Southern barbecue.

There are many different variations for this dish, from Texan to Boston, but they invariably start off with caramelizing bacon and onion in a skillet. We then add our canned beans and added ingredients, before cooking low and slow over wood smoke for two to three hours.

This all-American favorite is smoked low and slow over hickory for a thick layer of smoke flavor. It has everything we love about backyard cooking in it, including bacon, beer, and barbecue sauce.

Once these are done, they’ll have a sweet smell from the wood, while the long smoke time will make them thick and tender. All the added ingredients like onion and bacon will have blended in.

Quick Tip

If also cooking ribs or brisket, place the meat above the beans. This will allow any drippings to fall into the beans, incorporating them into the sauce for an incredibly meaty flavor.

smoked barbecue beans recipe

What are Cowboy Beans?

Cowboy beans are not to be confused with smoked BBQ baked beans. Both consist of beans, meat, and condiments cooked over a smoker. However, cowboy beans usually use ground beef instead of bacon.

The flavor also differs because cowboy beans have more of a southwestern twist, similar to chili con carne. Both dishes use barbecue sauce, but cowboy beans usually have chili powder and other spices added.

Best Beans for Barbecue Smoked Beans

Any large beans with a neutral flavor are a great choice for smoked baked beans. While traditional recipes call for navy beans, you can use other large white beans such as great northern, butter, or pinto beans. You can even add some color with kidney or borlotti beans, just keep in mind that if you’re mixing and matching beans, some have different cooking times.

Another choice you have to make is between canned or dried beans. Using canned beans is much easier, but dried beans have a better texture and flavor (as long as you remember to soak them overnight).

Smoking Wood

The best types of wood for smoking baked beans are mild, fruity woods such as apple and cherry that won’t overpower the beans. If you want a bolder, smokier flavor, you can add some chunks of hickory or oak to the mix of wood.

The only wood that you shouldn’t use when smoking baked beans is mesquite. The intense smokey flavor will overpower the beans.


How Much BBQ Baked Beans Should You Make Per Person?

The exact answer will depend on what else you are serving at your barbecue and everyone’s hunger levels. A good rule of thumb is to prepare one-half cup of baked beans per person.

smoked barbecue beans recipe
4.78 from 9 votes

Smoked BBQ Beans

Smoked barbecue beans cooked low and slow over wood for the ultimate BBQ side dish. With added brown sugar, BBQ sauce, and bacon, there's a punch of flavor in every mouthful.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • cast iron pan


  • 2 cans baked beans
  • 6 slices thick bacon cut into chunks
  • 1 large white/yellow onion diced
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 jalapenos sliced with seeds and stems removed


  • Fire up smoker to 225°F (107°C). If you are using a grill, set it up for 2-zone cooking, with the temperature at 225°F on the indirect side.
  • Place a cast-iron pan on the direct side to warm it up. Drizzle oil in the pan.
  • Cook bacon in the pan until browned on both sides. Remove bacon from pan and put to one side to cool.
  • Add diced onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add beans, barbecue sauce, beer, molasses, mustard, and bacon. Stir until combined thoroughly.
  • Move pan over to indirect side. Add wood to fire. Close lid and smoke for 2-3 hours. Check beans every 20-30 minutes to stir, and add water if they are looking dry.
  • When ready, add seasoning to taste. Serve.

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