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Craig's Sweet & Spicy Crockpot BBQ Beans

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“Adapted from a friend's amazing baked beans recipe, this is a very flexible, crowd pleasing dish. It freezes well so I usually make a double batch and freeze it in single portions for work week lunches or quick sides for dinner. Adapt it to whatever ingredients you have on hand, keeping the ratios of ingredients similar. You can use canned beans. This is a super flexible recipe, I've made it with all sorts of variations (more/less vinegar, using Indian BBQ sauce instead of ketchup, using corn syrup instead of molasses, using bacon/Spanish chorizo/Italian salami) and had it turn out about the same every time.”
4hrs 30mins
1 large casserole

Ingredients Nutrition

  • beans
  • 3 cups rinsed mixed dried beans (i usually use cranberry-incredibly creamy, kind of like pintos, navy, kidney)
  • 2 ham or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 slices bacon, finely diced (or whatever other pork products you have on hand-I've used ham steak, pancetta, etc)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (more to taste)
  • baked bean sauce
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pieces bacon, diced (optional, again use whatever you have)
  • 12 cup dark brown sugar or molasses or date syrup, & add more to taste
  • 14 cup vinegar (any kind is fine, I've used sugar cane, cider, red)
  • 14 cup ketchup (or tomato product-tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, diced fresh, whatever)
  • 14 cup water


  1. To cook the beans:
  2. 1. Put beans, bouillon, pork, garlic and bay leaf in crock pot.
  3. 2. Add water to about 1-2 inches over the beans.
  4. 3. Cook on high until soft, ~3 hours or overnight (8 hours) on low. Cooking for a longer period (aka overnight) won't hurt them, just make them softer and more creamy.
  5. To make the sauce:
  6. 1. Saute onions, peppers and garlic in a little bit of oil (I use a tsp of bacon fat if I have it) ~10 minutes until softened and brown.
  7. 2. Add rest of ingredients, stir, bring to a boil, and simmer on low until mixture has thickened to a syrupy consistency and onions and peppers are very soft.
  8. 3. Mix in beans, pour into large pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for one hour (or longer). Remove foil about 15 minutes before end of cooking time to let top brown.
  9. 4. Beans are best if served the next day (I usually make this in the evening and let the beans sit in cooling oven overnight). Will keep for one week or more in fridge, great to freeze and reheat later.
  10. Note: ****My secret ingredient is a can of dr. pepper (diet is fine) added with the rest of the liquid ingredients in the sauce.

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