Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Killer,,, Absolutely Killer Smoked Beans

Few things in my life I am more proud of than my beans.  I was thrilled to be able to add these to the menu for the wedding of the century.  I needed to triple this recipe in order to feed everyone.  Those baseball boys went wild for these...


Alright, sit back, maybe grab that third cup of coffee, 'cause this is going to be a long portion of the post.  

I know a lot of smokers (not the Marlboro men, the indirect grilling, long and slow cooks, with a hint of Wood smoke in their food).  EVERY SINGLE SMOKER IN THE WORLD THINKS THEY HAVE THE BEST BEAN RECIPE.  Want to start a fight, tell one of these smokers that your beans are better than theirs.

My beans are better than theirs (sorry Chris).  There are lots of little details in the beans that add up to ... better.  I will pretend to be humble about my beans, and not use the word best.  But I have eaten a hundred smoker's beans... so far, mine are better.


And here's the difference...  First, like every great bean recipe, this is sweetened with not only a little brown sugar, but also molasses AND sorghum!  The M & S adds deep color, as well as extra layers of texture (makes it thick) and taste.

But the key is the spices.  With the exception of some dry mustard powder, I do not add any new spices to my beans.  Instead I add 1/2 pound of spiced meat scraps.  Either some pork tenderloin or brisket frozen from a previous cook session or I fire up the grill or smoker a few hours early and cook a few scraps before putting the beans on.  Remember what your mom served you... Pork and Beans.  Well, these are pork and beans with a bite.

For my latest session, I had smoked some pork tenderloin, stuffed with sausage..  I had already reached temperature on the pork, and was going to wrap them in foil.  I knew I was going to use this to flavor my beans.  So, I cut off an end piece (end pieces have extra spice rub on them).  I diced it up and used it in the beans.  Believe me, plenty of seasonings.

One word of caution... This technique for spicing your beans works best when you add the meat as it cooks, not at the end of the cook session.  Think making a stew or a soup.  You do not add the onion in at the end of the session, but at the beginning, when the flavor of the onion will flavor the entire pot.  Same theory with adding spice rubbed meat scraps.  It does take planning ahead, but so does any successful BBQ...

And my final secret...

Look close at the photo on the left...

I smoke my beans below the pulled pork.  Beans take about 3-4 hours to smoke.  during the last couple of hours of the cooking of the pork shoulder, I drizzle some honey on the shoulder and put the beans below the pork.  The drippings from the pork (there aren't many, it is at the end of the session remember) drop into the beans and add yet another layer of flavor and heat from the mop and dry rub that the drippings drip through.

Layers of flavors, built around different layers of flavors.  This is the menu item that people come back for seconds.

It's just pork and beans (wink nod).

OK, here's the recipe for the beans...

Ingredient list...

1/2 pound of cooked smoked meat scraps, well spiced already with spicy rub, save the end pieces from a previous cook session.
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 medium size red onion, small diced (about 1/4 inch square) ... save these to add just prior to serving
6 ounces tomato paste
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup Brown Sugar ... save to add just prior to serving
1/3 cup Molasses
1/3 cup Sorghum Syrup
1 TB Dry Mustard
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1-27 ounce can BUSH'S brand Country Style BBQ Beans
1-16 ounce can BUSH'S brand Pinto Beans
1-16 ounce can BUSH'S brand Great Northern Beans

1/2 bottle of 
Killians Irish red (or your favorite) Beer
Place all the ingredients in a heavy baking pan, stir well to blend ingredients. Add a full bottle of Killians if using an offset smoker, or just 1/2 bottle if using an oven. Place in cooker and allow to cook along with the meat for 2 hours, leave them in the smoker as long as the residual heat is at least 200, after you remove the meat and foil the meat (foiling the meat allows the juices to be absorbed into the meat, making it more moist and tender... but I digress).  The moisture in the bean pot will help to keep moisture circulating in your cooker.

Garnish with the red onions and a bit of brown sugar.
And fellow smokers or grillers... These are worth leaving your bean recipe behind for a try.



  1. Yours definitely sound like the best I've ever had, Dave! I feel like you've really thought about each ingredient that went into them!

  2. Dave, this recipe sounds fantastic! I think that the word 'best' could definitely be put on it with no stretching of the truth. :) Can't wait to try this!

  3. Oh My! These sound amazing! Now I hate we are going out of town for the fourth. Putting these on the Labor Day Menu.

  4. I was disappointed with my last batch of beans but they sat in the smoker for two hours too long. But yes, I don't think you can beat beans that were cooked under smoking meats.