Baked Beans in a smoker are not only delicious but are an easy side dish for all your spring and summer barbecues! Topped with bacon, these homemade baked beans are the BEST and is the perfect pair to any smoked meat.
Smoker recipes are an absolute must for spring and summer. A lot of people like to stick to smoking only meats on the smoker, but I love smoked side dishes, as well. Some of the best smoker recipes are side dishes. Smoker side dishes are simply the best! Especially these smoked baked beans!
Why This Recipe Works
1. These smoked beans are a southern based recipe. My best friend's grandmother has been making this recipe since the early 1980's. Except she made these homemade beans in the oven. I've turned this southern classic into a smoker recipe!
2. The preparation is quick and easy! We're talking all of 5 minutes here!!
3. We're talking amazing taste here. The sweetness paired with the flavor of smoked bacon makes these BBQ beans out of this world!
I don't know about you, but when I go to a barbecue there is always a side of baked beans accompanying grilled hamburgers, a good Idaho potato salad, hot dogs, ribs, and some type of delicious marinated grilled chicken. But if you've never had smoked baked beans, then you are in for a real treat!
Types Of Smokers
Before we jump in this recipe, let's talk about some of the most common types of smokers. I'm often asked what the best smokers are and that's an impossible question to answer because it will vary. Depending on how you want to smoke food and how much effort you want to put in will depend on the type of smoker you should buy. I have all 4 of the main types of smokers.
If you want to put in as little effort as possible and not worry about temperature control, then consider getting a pellet smoker or an electric smoker. I really like my Traeger smoker. It's the best pellet grill. It's both a grill and a smoker all in one. It runs on wood pellets and does an amazing job at regulating the temperature so you don't have to babysit the entire smoking process. Pit Boss is also another popular wood pellet smoker that work really well.
I enjoy my electric smoker, as well. Same concept - low maintenance and I don't have to put in a lot of effort. Electric smokers do a really good job of taking the guesswork out of smoking while maintaining accurate temperature control. It also does a good job regulating automatic fuel feed. Some electric smokers require a small amount of wood chips while some brands make their own special wood disks.
Propane smokers requires a little more attention and babysitting. Personally, this is my favorite type of smoker. I have a Smoke Hollow Propane Gas smoker and with this one it requires preparing wood, managing the water level, and maintaining the internal temperature.
Then, there's the charcoal smoker. Hands down, this type of smoker results in the best tasting smoked food. This type of smoker requires the most effort, such as managing the fuel source and closely regulating the temperature which can be difficult when doing long smokes, like when you are smoking a pork butt. You can turn just about anything into a charcoal smoker, including your grill but if you're looking to buy one, check out these different charcoal smokers.
Preparing The Smoker
Depending on the type of smoker you have depends on how you will prepare it. Before you use your smoker, it needs to be seasoned. Seasoning a smoker is easy and each manual will go over the details on how to season or "cure" the smoker. The owner's manual will also go into detail on how to prepare the smoker using wood and how to prepare the water pan.
Ingredients You'll Need
The ingredients you'll need to make these are simple and can be found at your local grocery store. The best baked beans for this recipe are VanCamp's Pork and Beans because of the sweetened flavor sauce that has a hint of tomato. If you can't find VanCamp's brand, Bush's baked beans and their Grillin' Beans are a great substitute.
To enhance the flavor, I add extra sweetness with light brown sugar as well as a bit of molasses. To help balance the sweet taste, I add in chopped onions and some yellow mustard.
And when you add in bacon, it sets the flavor meter over the top and brings people back for seconds!
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Smoking baked beans is simple with minimal steps. It literally takes 5 minutes to prep. The first thing you'll do is add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well to combine.
From there, pour the mixture into a disposable aluminum pan. Next, chop the slices of bacon into 2 inch long pieces and lay them on top of the beans.
Place the aluminum pan in the smoker uncovered. Close the smoker and let them smoke for 2 hours on 225°F.
When you pull the smoked beans out of the smoker, the bacon pieces should be cooked and be golden brown around the edges. Stir the beans with a spoon so that the smoked bacon gets mixed in well with the beans.
And there you have it! A pan of baked beans from scratch that are the perfect side dish for BBQ!
Expert Tips and FAQs
I have been smoking meats and side dishes for years and I've picked up some expert tips on smoking that I think will help you.
- This recipe is smoker agnostic. Meaning you can make these in a gas, pellet, electric, or charcoal smoker.
- If you like a little extra smoke flavor, add a Tablespoon of Liquid Smoke to the water pan.
- Wood Chips vs Wood Chunks - I typically use wood chunks when I'm smoking meat because they last longer. I love using apple wood when smoking this recipe, but pecan and cherry wood is also great to use, as well.
- To Cover or Not Cover - I don't cover these beans with aluminum foil while they smoke. I want the smoke to really cover these beans since they are only smoking for 2 hours. When I smoke side dish recipes, it's typically because I'm already smoking some type of meat. I like to place the pan of baked beans on a rack directly under the smoking meat so that some of the drippings from the meat fall into the beans. This enhances the flavor.
- Low and Slow - I'm a believer of smoking food on a lower temperature and smoking for a longer time period. I smoke my beans for about 2 hours on 225°F. If you need the beans to smoke faster, increase the heat to 250 degrees. They'll be done in about 1.5 hours at this temperature.
Smoking Meat Cookbook
Are you looking for more smoker recipes? Not only do I have a collection of the best things to smoke, but I also have a published cookbook! It contains 65 smoker recipes that anyone can make. Whether you're new to the practice or just want to brush up on the basics, Smoking Meat Made Easy is your ultimate guide to backyard smoking. Master techniques and explore dozens of options that are easy to follow, and that work with any type of smoker.
Go order your copy on Amazon here.
Other Smoker Recipes
These beans are one of the best side dishes for BBQ. But if you're looking for a simple, inexpensive, and delicious chicken recipe, make sure you check out my article and recipe for how to smoke a chicken. It's easier than you may think! It's prepped with a brown sugar, smoky paprika and garlic based rub. We're talking easy to smoke and oh so good!
Another meat that you can pair these beans with is this amazingly tender and juicy smoked beef brisket. And if you love smoking side dishes like I do, check out these Garlic and Herb Smoker Potatoes...mainly because they are velvety in texture and rich in flavor! Another easy side dish you should try smoking are these Smoked Tomatoes with Basil and Goat Cheese. With only a 5 minute prep, this is a great side for when you are smoking a stuffed flank steak!
Follow Recipes Worth Repeating for more amazing recipes!
Smoker Baked Beans with Bacon
- 53 ounce can VanCamp's Pork and Beans
- ¼ cup light brown sugar,
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 pack bacon, 10-12 slices
- Put all the ingredient into a large bowl and mix well to combine.
- Pour the baked beans into a disposable aluminum pan.
- Cut the bacon into 2 inch long pieces and lay on top of the baked beans mixture.
- When the smoker is preheated to 225°F, place the aluminum pan in the smoker uncovered.
- Smoke for 2 hours.
- When you pull the baked beans out of the smoker, the bacon pieces should be cooked and be a golden brown around the edges. Stir the beans with a large spoon so that they gets mixed in well with the beans.
- Serve immediately.
- This recipe is smoker agnostic. Meaning...you can make these easy baked beans in a gas, pellet, electric, or charcoal smoker.
- Prepping the Smoker - Depending on the type of smoker you have will depend on how you prepare it. Reference the information I wrote above in the section called Preparing Your Smoker. With a If your smoker has a water pan, I recommend wrapping it with heavy duty aluminum foil before adding the water. If you like a little extra smoke flavor, add a Tablespoon of Liquid Smoke to the water.
- Wood Chips vs Wood Chunks - I typically use wood chunks when I'm smoking meat because they last longer. I love using apple wood when smoking this recipe, but pecan wood is also great to use, as well.
- To Cover or Not Cover - I don't cover these beans with aluminum foil while they smoke. When I smoke side dish recipes, it's typically because I'm smoking some type of meat. I like to place the pan of baked beans on a rack directly under the smoking meat so that some of the drippings from the meat fall into the beans. This enhances the flavor of the baked beans.
- Low and Slow - I'm a believer of smoking food on a lower temperature and smoking for a longer time period. I smoke my baked beans for about 2 hours on 225°F. If you need the beans to smoke faster, increase the heat to 250 degrees. They'll be done in about 1.5 hours at this temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Pour beans into a 9×13 Pyrex dish.
- Mix in brown sugar, molasses, onion and mustard and mix well.
- Cut bacon strips into 2″ pieces and place on top of the baked beans
- Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in May of 2019, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in April 2021.