Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans
Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

Before my gypsy soul led me to Los Angeles, I spent a few years growing up on a pig farm. With seven sisters. Eight girls, startling close in age, running around like ferrel children on endless acres of farmland. Although I learned to drive a tractor before I could drive a car, maneuver a 300 pound pig anywhere I wanted him to go using just a 5 gallon bucket, and  how to milk goats, these are skill that don’t really come in handy in a more urban area.

One useful skill that farm livin’ did teach me was how to grill meat and what to serve with it. This was the first occurrence of beer cooking in my life, the meat was always marinated in a mixture of barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and beer (Coors light I’m sad to say). Two sides were always, ALWAYS served alongside any meat that came off the grill: potato salad and baked beans. Potato salad and I have our issues, mostly the cringe inducing overuse of mayonnaise. But baked beans I never passed up. I like mine deep in flavor, and not too sweet. If you like your baked beans on the sweet side, add 1/4 cup brown sugar. If you like your potato salad swimming in mayo, you’re on your own.

Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans
Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ lbs pinto beans
  • ½ lbs navy beans
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 12 ounces smoked porter or stout beer
  • ½ lbs bacon, chopped
  • 1 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3 tbs molasses
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 ½ cups hot water

Instructions

  1. Add the beans and baking soda to a large pot (the baking soda softens the beans and allows them to soak more efficiently). Cover with about 2 inches of water.
  2. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, allow to soak for on hour. Drain.
  4. Add the beans and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker.
  5. Cook on high for 10 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Cooking the bacon and caramelizing the onions in the bacon fat before adding it all to the slow cooker will give you a deeper flavor, if you have the time.

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Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans
Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

45 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans

  1. Wow! Although I would certainly love for you to write another cookbook, please consider writing a book about your life. it sounds truly amazing and I’m sure it would be a best seller in no time! I am always fascinated by your stories and always look forward to hearing them. Keep the recipes and the stories coming!
    Can’t wait to try the beans.

  2. I’m with you on the potato salad. I feel similarly about macaroni salad as well. Along with any other mayo based salads.

    Can’t wait to try the beans!

  3. I made this. A friend suggested using Stone Smoked porter, which was not easy to find! Anyway, the dish was a success and several dinner guests went back for seconds. My only modification related to the consistency. Even though I used newly purchased beans and ran the slow cooker for over 10 hours the beans had a watery sauce, which doesn’t fit the mouth feel one expects for baked beans.

    So I drained the beans into a colander and boiled down the remaining liquid for about 10-15 minutes until it thickened up. At this point, my dish more closely resembled the dish shown in your photos.

  4. Hi, I just made this and followed the directions precisely. It was the first meal I’ve made in my new Cuisinart slow cooker. But after 8 hours on low, there was a lot of thin liquid and the beans were not completely cooked. Any idea where I might have gone wrong?

    1. Put it on high for a few hours. Dried beans can be a bit unpredictable. Some absorb water really well while some take a lot longer. It seems like they are resisting absorbing the liquid. Turn the heat up and that should be fine.

  5. Hi,

    I’m planning on making this for Christmas. (It looks delish!) I see you use dried beans. Would using canned beans work? I’m thinking – skip step one and just add drained, canned beans to the slow cooker? (Or would they get too mushy?)

    Thanks so much!

    1. If you do that they would need much lower cooking time and less liquid since they won’t need to be cooked. I’d do only 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup beer. If it’s too thick, add more of either. Cook on low for about 3 hours and then assess it from there.

  6. These look good. I do a family recipe from Kansas City BBQ life, but will try these. I just use a ham hock, dry great northerns, and then finish off after those are done. KC being a BBQ town has a distinctive bean flavor at many of the best BBQ joints. I have smokers, and do ribs and briskets regularly as I now live in Melbourne, Australia, and it is kind of unique flavor for “down under”. I will tell you that craft beer based baked beans will suit many of my friends, and I will be trying it soon. Thank you so much.

    For Potato Salad, we have moved to 2/3 light sour cream which actually is a better consistency, but still use 1/3 mayo. Still may not be your thing, but it is quite a bit better tasting.

  7. Your poor dad: 8 daughters :-) ……I already put bean pot in oven when I found your recipe online. I will try it at our next family event. It looks great!!! Always lookn for recipes to use our homemade maple syrup with.

  8. I made these beans following the recipe as directed, except I didn’t have any white beans or navy beans, but I did have black beans, red beans, black-eyed peas and garbanzos laying around, which I used. The beer I used was Rock Art Midnight Madness Smoked Porter (a Vermont beer). It cooked all night long on the low setting of the crock pot. The results were sublime. I am not a big baked beans fan because I usually find them to bee too sweet for my liking, but these are just absolutely delicious. Thanks so much

  9. I just invested in a bean pot and was looking for recipes to cook in it when I found this delicious looking recipe. Could you do this in a bean pot? If so how long and what temperature?

  10. Questions for the Rework: (I made the previous recipe and I loved it!) (I am excited to try this recipe as well!)

    1. The beans are not pre soaked, correct?
    2. Will this version require stirring once an hour?
    3. No pre-cooking the onions in the bacon grease?
    4. Regular or white balsamic vinegar?

    1. Some people where having issues getting the beans to cook through, mostly because all dried beans are slightly different and respond differently to rehydration. Instead of pre-soaking I used a baking soda boil which will work no matter what brand of beans you use. The end result flavor is really similar to the last, but just with a higher success rate! You can definitely pre-cook the onions and bacon, that would be great and give an even better final result. I used regular balsamic, but white would work as well.

      1. Thank you very much for your response! My family and I loved the first recipe and I’m sure we’ll love this one too! I pre-soaked the last time and only ended up having to cook it 4 hours. But this time I will follow everything as stated so that I can compare the results. Definitely going to pre-cook the bacon! Yum yum! (My husband volunteered me to make THIS specific dish for a work pot luck [yikes!], so I will be spreading the word on your blog and hopefully you’ll get some new followers!)

  11. Loved them. I made a double batch and followed the recipe exactly. Had to add some water after the 10 hours as they were dry. They were so good and so much better the next day after the flavors had melded.

    Thanks

  12. Your baked bean recipe is truly the best! I’ve been using it now for quite a while and get to make them again today. They are always a big hit. Thank you!

    1. I really depends not he slow cooker. Check after a few hours and see how it looks. I did ten hours on high but other people have been doing ten hours on low and it’s turning out perfect. Go with what you think is best for your slow cooker

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