Sunday, January 31, 2021

Slow Cooker Bourbon Beans

These bourbon baked beans are a perfect classic side for anything grilled or smoked, pulled pork, burgers and dogs, chicken or ribs. Made with beans and bacon, chopped onion and sweet bell pepper and a savory, sweet and spicy sauce, made easy using a slow cooker.
These bourbon baked beans are a perfect classic side for anything grilled or smoked, pulled pork, burgers and dogs, chicken or ribs. Made with beans and bacon, chopped onion and sweet bell pepper and a savory, sweet and spicy sauce, made easy using a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Bourbon Baked Beans

So, if you've been hanging around this blog for any amount of time, you already know I'm not super big on slow cooker usage. I have some recipes here and there, and I still use one occasionally, mostly to write recipes for the website and for those of you who do use them regularly.

Do I like baked beans the best when they're, well... baked? Yes indeed!

Baking them just infuses them with this deep, rich flavor and caramelizes the top, making them super delicious. I've also made that classic recipe on my Traeger  {affil link} where they get all of that, plus infused with smoke and even more tasty. Heck, I even occasionally make a stovetop version of pork and beans with some of the same baked bean flavor, and they are delicious too.

So, why slow cook baked beans?

Primarily, convenience. While oven baked take a shorter time in comparison, it does require a bit of baby-sitting, so as not to dry it out, while the slow cooker provides a basic set it and forget it kind of cooking. Slow cooking also infuses flavor throughout and the condensation from the lid helps to keep the beans moist. Easy recipe to throw together and you don't have to watch over it.

As always, full recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, are a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the step by step pictures below.

How to Make Delicious Slow Cooker Baked Beans
  1. Bush's Beans has always been my secret ingredient and I've been using them for years! There are at least a dozen or so varieties now, but I always used and continue to use the original version. You may also use plain cooked navy beans or even pork and beans - just make adjustments in your seasonings.
  2. Bacon. Plenty of bacon. This serves as a seasoning for the beans and the drippings are used for the vegetables. Besides that, bacon makes baked beans shine.
  3. Onion, sweet preferred and Vidalia when in season.
  4. Sweet bell pepper, your choice of color. I had red bell peppers on hand so that's what I used.
  5. Chili sauce, I prefer this over using ketchup, though ketchup will also work, as will barbecue sauce.
  6. Creole mustard, though yellow will do.
  7. Cane syrup, sorghum or molasses and light brown sugar.
  8. A few seasonings - salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and Worcestershire.
  9. Bourbon or whiskey, if you're so inclined, but completely optional.
Can you start with dried beans?

Absolutely! Though I prefer to use a quality already cooked bean like Bush's brand, you may substitute dried beans as well. If you use dried beans, either precook them, or cook the entire dish on low for for extended period of time - generally 8 to 9 hours. Test beans for tenderness and add additional time as needed.

Precooking beans is super easy with a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot and when I use dried beans in an Instant Pot recipe, I very often do a precook first, before cooking the actual recipe. 

You may also substitute an equal amount of your favorite canned navy beans, or simply plain pork and beans. Since Bush's are lightly seasoned already, and I am enhancing them further, you'll want to taste and make any adjustments to flavor when using a pork and bean product or especially if using a plain bean. Tip: Save money, by catching Bush's baked beans when they are on sale and stock up!

What other meats can I substitute or use in addition to bacon?
  • Turkey bacon is an appropriate substitute
  • Cooked, ground sausage works well, though I prefer the rolls of breakfast sausage
  • Cooked and drained ground beef
  • Diced smoked sausage or baked ham

What to serve my slow cooker baked beans with?
  • Anything grilled or smoked
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Hamburgers, hamburger steaks and hotdogs
  • Sloppy Joe or Loose Meat Sandwiches
  • Pork chops, ribs, baked ham and ham steaks
  • Smoked sausage and bratwurst
  • Barbecued, grilled or baked chicken
  • Grilled, pan-fried or steakhouse style oven steaks

How to make my slow cooker bourbon baked beans


Use sauté function on cooker or absent that, cook bacon in deep skillet on stovetop until cooked but not too crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, leaving drippings in skillet. Set aside and chop bacon once cool enough to handle. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan drippings and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain off excess fat. 

Add beans, chili sauce, seasonings, half of the bacon and the veggies to the slow cooker, stir well, taste and adjust seasonings. cover and cook on low for about 4 to 5 hours, stirring several times. Uncover and cook on high to reduce, if further thickening is needed. Top with reserved bacon before serving or sprinkle on individual servings, and drizzle individual servings with additional syrup, if desired.

By the way, I prepped these in advance and cooked them later - just in case you're wondering about the plastic container.



Though you can use any kind of slow cooker, I used my Crockpot brand 3.5 quart casserole style slow cooker this time. It's great for casserole types of dishes that you would typically bake in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, providing a bigger surface area. Cris, a blogging colleague over at Recipes that Crock has gathered up a collection of recipes from around the web that use this type of slow cooker. If you're interested in this cooker, check those out sometime! 


More of my favorite baked beans to try!


For more of my favorite slow cooker recipes, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!


Slow Cooker Bourbon Beans

Slow Cooker Bourbon Beans

Yield: About 10 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 4 HourTotal time: 4 H & 15 M
These bourbon baked beans are a perfect classic side for anything grilled or smoked, pulled pork, burgers and dogs, chicken or ribs. Made with beans and bacon, chopped onion and sweet bell pepper and a savory, sweet and spicy sauce, made easy using a slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 (28 ounce) cans original Bush's baked beans, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup, sorghum or molasses
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), optional
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Couple dashes hot sauce, optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey, optional

Instructions

  1. Use sauté function on cooker or absent that, cook bacon in deep skillet on stovetop until cooked but not too crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, leaving drippings in skillet. Set aside and chop bacon once cool enough to handle. 
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan drippings and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain off excess fat. 
  3. Add beans, chili sauce, seasonings, half of the bacon and the veggies to the slow cooker, stir well, taste and adjust seasonings. cover and cook on low for about 4 to 5 hours, stirring several times.
  4. Uncover and cook on high to reduce, if further thickening is needed. 
  5. Top with reserved bacon before serving or sprinkle on individual servings, and drizzle individual servings with additional syrup, if desired.

Notes:

I use Heinz Chili Sauce which is a tomato based product, containing tomato puree, onion, garlic and other seasonings. Plain ketchup or barbecue sauce may also be substituted. I also prefer to use Bush's beans, but substitute an equal amount of your favorite canned beans, or simply plain pork and beans, if desired, bumping up seasonings to taste. If you use dried beans, either precook them, or cook entire dish on low for 8 to 9 hours, then test beans for tenderness and add additional time as needed.

Slow Cooker, Crockpot, Beans, Baked Beans, Navy Beans, Cookout Food
Side Dish
American
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Posted by on January 1, 2020
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