Dutch Oven Baked Beans From Scratch

As a kid one of the funniest scenes of any movie I ever saw was the bean scene from Blazing Saddles.  All of the cowboys are sitting around the campfire while eating beans and breaking wind.  It’s the kind of humor a young boy can enjoy but there’s probably a grain of truth to it.  Beans were a staple for cowboys because they could be dried and easily stored.  There probably wasn’t a chuck wagon following a cattle drive in the west that didn’t carry a months supply of beans and it was a nightly dish.  I love making things in my dutch oven that connect me with the bygone era.  Making dutch oven baked beans from scratch is about as cowboy as you can get.  If you don’t have a dutch oven don’t worry, while I’m making it in a dutch oven you can use this as a crockpot baked beans recipe too.

Dutch Oven Baked Beans From Scratch

Baked beans in a dutch oven on the ground

Making baked beans from scratch can sound intimidating but it’s actually quite simple.  The key is time.  You want to simmer those beans for 6 – 10 hours with longer being better.  This long cooking time begins to break the beans down and allow the sauce and seasoning to really penetrate them.  This recipe works great indoors too, just use a crock pot instead of a dutch oven.  If you want to use canned beans instead of dried beans then skip the soaking and boiling steps because that was done when the beans were canned.  It will take 3 – 4 cans to get the same amount as 1 lb dried beans.

I did my best to capture pictures of everything but because it was cool outside the steam kept fogging up my camera lens ruining some of the shots.

I was also smoking a brisket while I made this.  The next day I shredded the brisket and mixed it into the leftover beans for another meal.

Step-by-Step Directions

Soak the beans in water overnight in the refrigerator to rehydrate them.

a bowl of beans soaking in water

Boil the beans for 1 – 2 hours until they are tender while not yet breaking apart.  If you do this in the dutch oven you will likely need to use a lot of charcoal to get enough heat to boil.

beans beginning to boil in a dutch oven

Cook 5 – 6 strips of bacon.  I used the lid of my dutch oven and charcoal just to show that you can.  Crumble it up and set aside.

cooking bacon on a dutch oven lid with charcoal

When the beans are tender drain all but 1 cup of water and combine all ingredients including the crumbled bacon.  It will be a bit runny at first, but a lot of water is going to evaporate off.  You will probably even have to add more while cooking.

beans when first covered with sauce

Cook for 6 – 10 hours, adding charcoal as needed.  Error on the side of longer because you really want the beans to get tender.  Open once an hour or so to check the beans.  While checking your beans give them a light stir to keep from burning and you will probably need to add water a couple of times.  Just add a little bit at a time because you want the sauce to end up nice and thick.a dutch oven covered with several charcoal briquettes

I ran out of charcoal briquettes and had to use lump.  Consequently I had to use lump charcoal.

A dutch oven covered with lump charcoal

The beans are done when they are so tender you are worried about stirring them.  You really want them almost falling apart.

Baked beans in a dutch oven on the ground

Full Recipe

Print

Dutch Oven Baked Beans

Prep Time 10 hours
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 20 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Great northern beans or navy beans
  • 6 strips Bacon
  • 1 6 oz can Tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup Molasses
  • 1/3 cup Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak beans in water over night.

  2. Boil beans for 1 -2 hours until tender.  Drain all but 1 cup water

  3. While boiling the beans cook the bacon. Crumble it up and set aside.

  4. Combine all ingredients in dutch oven or crock pot.

  5. Cook for 6 - 10 hours until beans are almost too tender to stir.  Add water as needed.

Did you like this recipe?

Let me know what you thought in the comments below or ask me any questions you have.  Also please be sure to share this on Pinterest and Facebook.

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