Cowboy Bacon Beans

Total Time:
4 hr 10 min
10 min
4 hr

8 to 10 servings

  • 4 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
  • 2 whole green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, more to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse the beans under cold water, sorting out any rocks/particles. Set aside.

In a heavy pot (cast iron), saute the bacon pieces until halfway cooked and the fat is rendered. Add the green peppers and onions to the pot and cook until starting to get brown, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and then add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic. Reduce the heat to a simmer, place on the lid and cook until the beans are tender and the liquid is thick 3 to 4 hours.

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    Great recipe. Followed it exactly - except I used red beans and pinto. Everyone loved them.
    First time making them: a little too sweet, but otherwise great. Added ham cubes to make them extra yummy. Second time: cut the sugar in half, still added the ham cubes. Winner Winner, cowboy dinner!!
    I usually like Ree's recipes, but this one was too sweet. The simpler way to make these beans is use bacon, onions, and green peppers, sauté, add water and beans, add the chili powder, 1/2 the brown sugar, and a good bbq sauce.
    I have made these beans many times. I pretty much make them as she did but with a little variation. and if there are any type of vegans I don't use bacon or any other type of meat. I do use a combo in small amounts of brown sugar, sweet pickle relish, a tad of molasses and honey. I also add onion and garlic powder along with salt, pepper and a splash of beer.  
    This recipe has always been a hit. I also use this recipe for my BBQ spare ribs with a little extra beer, people love it!
    I made these beans for a BBQ and everyone loved them! I got so many compliments on them. I used 3/4 cup of brown sugar instead of the whole cup, but would recommend using less. They were a tad sweet for me. I added a little vinegar to lessen the sweetness. Also, I didn't soak the beans overnight. They still turned out amazing. There are a lot left over, hopefully they get better the longer they sit!
    Hay Guys! Be a hero for your lady and your family. I loaded up the kettle yesterday and these beans were FANTASTIC! I asked the Mrs. if she would want them again and she instantly replied "DEFINANTELY". Guys (Gals too!) you can do this one!
    These are wonderful! Like the addition of the green peppers!
    These beans are excellent but if you use dried beans YOU MUST SOAK THEM. This recipe needs to state this. Mine cooked 4 1/2 hours and were still a little hard. But they tasted great.
    I am trying tonight and I will let you know. I am giving it five stars because I have no reason to give it anything less.
    So-called "reviews" like these mess up the ratings. How can telling us you are planning on making this recipe possibly equate to any type of review...and how does your non-trial rate 5 stars? So many people do this...and I will just never understanding it. (Sorry, just had to vent a little!)
    Family loved these. Made them the other night. Cut the recipe in half and used 4 cans of pinto beans instead of dried and added 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno but otherwise followed the recipe.
    Delicious! I'll be making these again and again! Just be sure to soak them overnight before you cook them!
    No more canned bean for me! These beans were loved by everyone... I'd follow any of the suggested tweekers, knowing your own tastes. I used a spicy BBQ sauce and less sugar, but the jalapeño idea sounds great!
    I usually really like her recipes, but this was a bit sweet for me. Take out most if not all of the brown sugar and they taste great. BETTER using bbq sauce as I did the second time with the beans rather then ketchup.
    The flavor was good but the beans stayed crunchy. I would highly recommend soaking the beans overnight!!
    I made this recipe yesterday after seeing the show and realizing I had all the ingredients on hand. I did substitute two jalapenos for one of the green bell peppers and used about half the sugar that Ree did. My boyfriend loved them and this is a more canned beans for me either! Thanks Ree and I am so glad I have all your cookbooks too!!!
    These beans made me feel like I was back home on the range...thank you Ree for a wonderful cowboy bean recipe!
    These beans were to die for. YUMMY My family just loved them. Thank you Ree
    I love these beans. I have made it several times since it was put on TV. Took them to my mom's 70th birthday party pot luck and to my surprise they were devoured!! Sorry to my aunt who made chili beans that no one touched. People as me for the recipe all the time. Thanks Ree. Making them tonight for dinner
    These beans were sooooo good! We have a lot of company and I know they will all love this. Very easy to do. I like to serve it with cornbread!
    No more canned beans for me. These were really good. The first time I made the recipe I made 1/2 of a recipe because a bag of beans is slightly over 2 cups. I followed the recipe to a T. We felt it needed a little something more. The second time I made the recipe I adjusted it just a little. I did the same amount of beans - 1 bag. However, I did not cut back on the seasonings, ketchup, etc. I left out the green pepper and put in a jalapeno. Cut back on the sugar a little since we don't like our food sweet. I cook the bacon, onion, and jalapeno in the fry pan and then put everything in the croc-pot. I did not add the salt until just before serving. It cooked for about six hours in the croc-pot. Absolutely delicious. Since this makes a large amount and we are a small family I was able to freeze the extra for another day.
    These beans were delicious! Other than halving the recipe (I was only cooking them for me and my hubby and adding the salt at the very end of the cooking time, I followed the recipe as written. Mine cooked in 4 hours. Will definitely make these again! No, they aren't a traditional baked beans (I don't think they claim to be, but they are super good and would definitely go with anything you would normally want to serve with a traditional baked beans.
    I didn't read reviews first. But my bean package stated in no uncertain terms the beans needed to be soaked, so I did the quick soak, boil 2 min, leave covered 1 hour. Then it said cook 45 min. I went forward as this recipe directed instead, thinking I'd boil any excess liquid down But even with quick soak, beans took 3 1/2 hrs to get to where the shells on them were tender, which I wanted. Also, it took that long to cook down the liquid, tho I did take off the lid for an hour or so. Added a few squirts (I made only 1/3 of recipe of ketchup and mustard at the end to increase flavor. It was good. Not baked beans - good, but a slightly different dish.
    Now this is all afternoon event. : For me it took about an hour longer for the beans to become done, otherwise it was very good. Husband gave them thumbs up! It is satisfying to cook from "scratch" like starting with the dried beans. My friends think I am crazy for even wanting to try. I need more "foodie" friends ha ha ! Thanks Ree...this is a good one!
    I LOVED this recipe the SECOND time I made it! The reason being, I made a few adaptions to the original suiting our family's taste. I'm sure we would have Ree's approval in doing so...if she only knew... 
    #1. I didn't add the chili powder because I wanted the taste of baked beans, not chili beans. #2. I cut the brown sugar measurement down to less than half. 
    #3. I added a huge squirt, maybe 1/3 cup of my favorite BBQ sauce. 
    #4. I cooked the beans at a slightly higher temperature than simmer, stirring it a few times each hour, adding in approximately 2 additional cups of water over the course of the 4 hour cooking time. 
    ***NOTE*** If you follow my method, stick close to your beans because if I hadn't been there to stir and add the water as needed, it would have boiled dry, burned and totally bummed me out!!! 
    ***BRIGHTER NOTE*** Man oh Man these beans made for a delicious meal in itself! They were meaty and absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!
    Delish! Ree never disappoints!!! Its important to remember that these are cowboy beans and not baked beans - she has an amazing recipe for that as well, but they are different!! If you follow the recipe, there are no issues!!
    Great point, thanks for reminding us that these are not baked beans.
    These are EASY and sooooo GOOD!!! Follow recipe exactly and you will not be disappointed...I use veggie bacon as I do not eat animals.
    I will never buy canned again. This was so good, I can't believe people are giving it 1 and 2 stars. The problem isn't that you need to soak the beans, you need to have your heat higher. The beans need to cook at a low boil and they are excellent. I hope my review helps.
    These were delicious! I did not have any issues with the beans not fully cooking and I did NOT soak them overnight. I followed the recipe as written. I cooked them on my stove for about 4 hours on a higher setting to make sure they did fully cook. I watched them and would add water as needed so they didn't burn. If I had to change anything, I would add some chopped jalepenos or cayenne pepper to give it some kick. Would make these again!!
    This was my first dried bean recipe that I have tried in over a decade. I found these beans to be very flavorful and had just the right texture. It had a touch of sweetness without being too sweet. I used the optional chili powder and I simmered on the lowest temperature overnight because it was late and I was tired.
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