Baked beans are a summer staple. This simple Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans recipe from The Curious Plate will quickly become a fixture of your summer barbecue menu.
The familiar, comforting texture, the brown sugar sweetness, and hint of tomatoey acidity make baked beans a beloved sidekick for summer spreads. But their story began long before they appeared on our picnic table alongside grilled burgers, hot dogs, and crunchy coleslaw.
Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans flavored indigenous white beans with maple syrup and animal fat. They then buried the beans’ cooking vessels in an earth oven pit to slowly cook, giving us the origin of this dish.
English colonists adopted the concept and began stewing the beans in a brown sugar and pork fat mixture. But perhaps the most memorable recipe for baked beans passed down through the centuries is for classic Boston baked beans.
The flavor profile of Boston baked beans is the gold standard for others that have followed. Navy beans are flavored with brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, a bit of tomato paste or ketchup, salt pork, apple cider vinegar, and mustard powder. They are baked “low and slow” (low oven temperature with extended cook time) to render a deliciously complex side dish that hits all the notes of creamy sweetness, balanced acidity, and salty pork. Technically, the beans “stew” in their sauce while cooking. But “baked beans” have an alliterative warmth that stuck.
And while we’re talking technicalities, the “baked beans” on store shelves aren’t even baked — they undergo a steaming process. So there.
Here, we offer a slow cooker recipe that takes its cue from baked beans’ low and slow origins and delivers an edge of smoky, tangy chipotle pepper flavor from the addition of Harry & David’s Bacon Chipotle BBQ Sauce in lieu of traditional tomato. And since you’re using a slow cooker, you don’t have to stand in front of a hot burner stirring a pot of beans. Just set the slow cooker, take a dip in the pool, make yourself a drink, and voila! Side dish perfection.
They are so easy, that you may never open up a store-bought can of “steamed beans” again.
Slow Cooker Bacon Chipotle BBQ Baked Beans
- Slow Cooker
- 3 15- ounce can northern beans (rinsed and drained)
- 5 slices bacon (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
- 1 ¼ cups Harry & David Bacon Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- In the slow cooker, add all the ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours or until the beans have softened.
- Once cooked, stir, serve, and enjoy!