Saucy Cowboy Beans with Bacon and Beef are hearty and filling, all simmered in a sweet and tangy bbq sauce in your favorite cast iron skillet or rocked-out in your Instant Pot. I could literally eat my weight in these beans – this is my all-time favorite “baked bean” recipe.
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Saucy Cowboy Beans with Bacon and Beef. This is the best “Baked Bean” side dish in the West…..Made on your stove top OR in your Instant Pot!
I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t like baked beans that are thick and gloppy….you know the kind I’m referring to, right? I like my baked beans saucy and loose, with the beans themselves still being nice and firm. That’s why I was pretty dang excited when I was able to create this recipe. I first made it in my cast iron skillet, then decided it was high time to make these Saucy Cowboy Beans in my Instant Pot. Three minutes later, they were done – so exciting!
How to Make Saucy Cowboy Beans
BACON and BEEF. That’s a outstanding start to any dish and these Saucy Cowboy Beans are no exception. I use my kitchen shears to cut up my bacon – so handy and quick. Plus, I don’t have to get a cutting board messed up. If you’re family of big carnivores like mine, you may want to double up on the BACON and ground BEEF. 🙂 No ground beef on hand? No worries – substitute ground pork or sausage. Either one works great, though the pork does render a bit more fat.
Onion and green bell pepper. These are the aromatics of your dish and the green pepper provides some nice color and texture, as well. If I’m in a super big hurry, I often substitute dehydrated onion flakes for my diced onion in this recipe – it works great.
Ground cloves, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, black pepper. These are the spices for your Saucy Cowboy Beans and boy do the ground cloves make a difference in this dish. It’s not super pronounced or anything, but does really set this bean recipe apart…don’t skip the ground cloves!
BBQ sauce, vinegar, brown mustard, chicken broth, and molasses. All of these goodies make up your SAUCE. Feel free to double these ingredients if you like your beans super saucy, keeping mind that beans always absorb a lot of liquid as they rest.
Pinto Beans. This recipe calls for CANNED pinto beans and that’s why you can have this recipe done up in a fat minute! Because pinto beans are bland, they take really nicely to the sauce in this recipe.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Saucy Cowboy Beans
- What if I don’t have pinto beans on hand? Can I substitute another type of canned bean? You sure can. I’ve done this before in a pinch and it works fine. I’ve used well-rinsed chili beans (unless you really want more spice, then don’t rinse them) and also Great Northern beans. Pretty sure I was the only one who even noticed….still delicious, too.
- Can I make these beans ahead of time and then reheat them? Yeppers. I’ve been making these Saucy Cowboy Beans in my Instant Pot a lot lately (since it’s so dang fast) and then I put them into a cast iron skillet or casserole dish and stick them in the fridge once they’ve cooled a bit. Then, when it’s time for dinner or covered-dish, I stick them in the oven to reheat. If you use a glass casserole dish, you can even reheat these in the microwave.
- What can I serve Saucy Cowboy Beans with? We often serve these as a side dish for grilled burgers and smoked brisket or smoked tri-tip….delish! Or, you can even serve the Saucy Cowboy Beans as the main dish (since there’s meat in there!) and add side dishes to round out the meal. Side-note: There’s really no WRONG way to do Saucy Cowboy Beans!
Other Tasty Side Dish Recipes You Will Enjoy –
Saucy Cowboy Beans
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, diced
- 1/4 tsp. each ground cloves, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and kosher salt
- 2/3 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. molasses
- 2 cans pinto beans, 15 oz. each, drained and rinsed
Stove Top Method
- In a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon and ground beef with onion, bell pepper, spices and kosher salt until vegetables are softened a bit and meats are cooked throughout.
- Drain excess fats, then add BBQ sauce, vinegar, mustard, broth, molasses and beans; bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally; serve warm from the skillet.
Instant Pot Method (electric pressure cooker)
- Using the saute setting on your Instant Pot, cook the ground beef and bacon with the onion, bell pepper, spices, and kosher salt until vegetables are softened a bit and meats are cooked throughout.
- Drain excess fats, then add BBQ sauce, vinegar, mustard, molasses and beans. Pour the broth over the top of all ingredients. Do Not Stir!
- Lock the Instant Pot lid into place, then use the Manual/Pressure Cook button, choosing 3 minutes on High Pressure, bringing the IP to full pressure.
- When the timer sounds, perform a Quick Release to remove all pressure from the Instant Pot. Carefully unlock and remove the lid; gently give the beans a quick stir. Serve at once.
New to Instant Pot cooking? Here’s help!
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