Cowboy Beans are a hearty side dish made with ground beef, bacon, onion, peppers, brown sugar, baked beans, and barbecue sauce. Try my Simple Country Baked Beans for another sweet and savory baked beans side dish.
What are cowboy beans? The name most likely came from the days when pioneers traveled along the trails and needed quick, easy, and filling foods. Beans last for a long time, and they can be made with just some water, so they were the perfect staple for extended journeys. By adding the ground beef to this recipe, it makes the dish even more filling!
Cowboy Beans Ingredients
Ground Beef: I prefer ground beef in this recipe; but, you could definitely try ground turkey as a substitute.
Bacon: Cook and crumble the bacon before adding it to the pot. To make this easy (with little clean-up), bake the bacon ahead of time on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet for 18-20 minutes at 415°F.
Seasonings: I added a little bit of garlic salt and onion powder to the mix.
Baked Beans: Choose two 28-ounce cans of your favorite brands of baked beans. We used Bush’s Original Baked Beans.
Barbecue Sauce: As with the baked beans, choose your favorite kind of barbecue sauce. Or, use this homemade BBQ sauce.
How to Make Cowboy Beans
This side dish, or what could even be a lighter meal, is a heartier dish than just a bowl of baked beans. Plus, it has both a sweet and savory flavor. Make sure you have a heavy bottom, oven-safe pot, like a Dutch oven, that has a lid. We used a 4-quart size. The pot will go from the stovetop to the oven.
First, add the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder to the pot over medium heat. Cook until the beef is no longer pink. Next, drain the excess liquid.
Then, add the cooked bacon crumbles, brown sugar, baked beans, barbecue sauce, and dijon mustard. Stir to mix all the ingredients together. Finally, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven to bake for about an hour. When the cowboy beans are done, the beans will be hot, bubbly, and thickened. Serve warm.
Can I Freeze Baked Beans?
Yes! This recipe does make quite a bit, so you can easily freeze the leftovers. Be sure to let the side dish cool completely before putting it into a freezer-safe container. Label and date the container; they will last up to 6 months.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (approximately 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup brown sugar (this is optional – you could omit)
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) baked beans, we used Bush's Original Baked Beans
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a 4 quart, heavy bottom, oven-safe pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat, add ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. Cook until the hamburger is no longer pink. Drain the excess liquid.
- Add cooked bacon crumbles, brown sugar, baked beans, barbecue sauce, and dijon mustard. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour. (When done, the beans should be hot and bubbly and thickened.) Serve warm.
Did you make this recipe?
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