Our Dutch Oven Baked Beans recipe is smokey, sweet, porky goodness! The flavors of molasses and bacon mingle in your mouth with just a hint of heat. We bake them lovingly in a traditional dutch oven for up to 8 hours to bring them to their fullest potential. If you have the time and want to ratchet up your side dish repertoire give them a try!
Dutch Oven Baked Beans
A good dutch oven baked beans recipe starts with good beans and for that dried beans is the only way to go. We use Great Northern Beans when we make ours. Dried beans have a much firmer texture than the mush that can come out of a can, but the going the extra mile is worth it, if you want to produce a superior dutch oven baked beans. This recipe is for a 12-Quart Dutch Oven.
- 2 Pounds of dried Great Northern Beans.
- 3 Cups of Ketchup
- 1 Cup of Yellow Mustard
- 1 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup of Honey
- 1/2 Cup of Molasses
- 1 Medium Onion (finely chopped)
- 1 Pound of Bacon (Chop 4 slices and leave the rest whole)
- 2 Tablespoons of Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
- 1 Bottle of Beer
- 6 Cups of reserved bean water
- Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- The beans need to be soaked in cold water overnight. The next day pour off the water and rinse them. Put them back in a pot and cover them with a few inches of water. Bring them to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 90 minutes. Reserve 6 cups of the cooking water.
- In a large sauce pan, over a medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until it is crisp. Add the onion and cook until it is softened.
- Add the ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar, honey, molasses, and hot sauce, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the beans and half of the reserved bean water and bring back to a simmer.
- While the beans are coming back to a simmer, line the bottom of the dutch oven with the rest of the bacon.
- Taking care not to disturb the bacon lining pour the bean mixture into the dutch oven.
- Add the rest of the reserved bean water. You are looking to cover the beans with 3 inches of liquid.
- Crack open the beer, take a swig, and pour the rest of it into the dutch oven.
- Carry that heavy bitch out to where you’ll be cooking.
Making Dutch Oven Baked Beans The Traditional Way
When we make our Dutch Oven Baked Beans we go the whole 9 yards and do it in our fire pit in the backyard. It looks cool and is pretty hardcore, plus you get to yell “Now ,we’re cooking with Fire!” a lot.
A traditional dutch oven is more than just a big heavy pot. The rimmed lid allows for the placing of hot coals on top which lets things actually bake in the dutch oven. Once you get the hang of it you can bake breads, biscuits, and even cakes. It all comes down to having the proper ratio of top heat to bottom heat. That is why in the beginning we recommend that you use charcoal briquets. They burn consistently and are easy to work with.
When making the dutch oven baked beans we shoot for around a 3:1 ratio of top heat to bottom heat. With the large volume of this recipe figure on 25-28 coals on top with 10 on the bottom. The coals will need to be changed every hour. Every half and hour we rotate the dutch oven a 1/4 turn to keep any hot spots in check.
Dutch Oven Baked Beans are best when they get a full 8 hours to cook. The first 4 hours we don’t do anything except add more coals and rotate the dutch oven. At the 4 hour mark we dust of the hot coals and lift the lid for the first time. We’ll give it a gentle stir and add more liquid if needed. The beans will need to have at least an inch of liquid still covering them at this point. From here on we’ll check them every hour. We want them to soften and for the liquid to bake down to a sticky goodness. If during the hourly check the liquid level is down don’t hesitate to add, you can always let them cook a bit longer to cook off excess water. It is a lot better than burnt beans, trust me I’ve been there!
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