Smokey BBQ-Baked Beans

Posted on Wed 10 January 2018 in Food

We recently got a Fornetto Basso - it's an 18" bullet smoker/barbecue, advertised with three tiers of deliciousness: two bbq racks, and a rail under the lid for hanging meats for smoking. It also has a large metal water bowl, which goes at the bottom. The water helps to keep the meat moist, and helps regulate the temperature.

However... The water bowl also turns out to be my new favourite bean-cooking vessel! It's quite huge (probably about 8 litres) and of course it doesn't consume any of the precious roasting real-estate. Even better, the juices from your cooking meat will drip into the beans, bringing a nice smokey meaty flavour! ❤️

So anyway, I whipped up a recipe last night, and my awesome wife ran the smoker today while I was at work. I came home to the best baked beans I've ever tasted.

The following recipe is plenty for a good 6 people, and should provide some leftovers as well. We used a mix of Apple wood and Cherry wood for smoke.

The beans simmering - it's all still very liquid, all the beans are still firm and bean-shaped, and chunks of capsicum and onion are recognisable.
Part-way through the cook


  • 1 cup cooked bacon, chopped into about 2cm squares (optional)
  • 6 cups mixed raw beans*, soaked in clean water overnight and drained
  • 18 cups water
  • 2 fairly large onions, diced large
  • 3 capsicum (any colour), cut to about 2cm squares
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 270ml of tomato sauce (I used Watties)
  • 6 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 8 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (possibly a bit less depending on taste)

* I used a mix of about 40% haricot beans, 10% black beans, 30% red kidney beans, and 20% giant lima beans. The black beans were pleasant surprises, but the lima weren't particularly enlightening - get butter beans instead, if you can find them.

Mix all the ingredients together in your bowl (or a tray), pop it in the BBQ, and fire it up! The beans will absorb some of the water, and some of the water will evaporate to keep your meat hydrated. Your beans should be cooked by the time the sauce has thickened down - ours were ready in about 5 hours. Make sure you don't cook them dry!


The liquid has thickened into a paste consistency; the beans are way softer, many are mashed and split. The capsicum peeks through in splashes of colour.
Utterly delicious ... although already mostly eaten!