The best beans I’ve ever had were served to me by this man:

Oklahoma Joe and an Oklahoma Joe Smoker
That’s Oklahoma Joe standing next to one of his Oklahoma Joe Grills

He is Joe Davidson otherwise known as Oklahoma Joe. He had his own line of offset smokers that he sold to Char-Broil, has won just about everything there is to win in the world of BBQ, and is an all around great guy. According to his website:

Joe has won more than 300 barbecue championships, including the Jack Daniel’s World Championship, the American Royal World Championship, the Great Pork Barbeqlossal, the Head-to-Head World Championship, the World Brisket Open Championship, the Canadian Salmon Grand Championship, the Rib Championship at the San Antonio Rodeo and BBQ Championship, the Memphis in May World BBQ Championship, and numerous state and regional titles.

His burnt ends are the best BBQ I have tasted in my life and these beans were better than any beans I have ever had. So why am I messing with perfection? Why am I changing a recipe that has won the side dish award at Memphis in May three times? Because that’s what I do. Because I couldn’t resist tweaking it a little. Sorry. That’s just who I am.

Oklahoma Joe and DivaQ
Oklahoma Joe and Diva Q – Two BBQ legends

My Spin on Oklahoma Joe’s Smoked Beans Ingredients:

117 oz of baked beans (#10 can like you get at a warehouse club) – drain about a third of the juice if you can (it’s hard as the sauce is thick – just drain what you can)
30 ounces of black beans – juice drained off
30 ounces of red kidney beans – juice drained off
18-20 oz of BBQ sauce
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper and one red pepper, chopped
1 serano pepper (substitute jalapeno)
2 lbs brown sugar
1 lb of smoked brisket, chopped
1 cup bourbon

Yield: Two aluminum pans of beans

Speaking of aluminum pans, stock up. They are your best friend when cooking for a crowd and saving a TON of clean up time.

If you’re wondering what I did different from Joe, well, you’ll just have to ask him yourself ;-)

***Editor’s Note ~ Lots of folks have asked what a #10 can of baked beans is. That’s the size of the can. It holds approximately 117 ounces of baked beans and can be purchased at just about any warehouse/membership store***

I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of shots of ingredients being chopped. I’ll just give you the method. Use a minimum of four aluminum pans here. Double (or even triple) them up to keep the pans from bending under the weight of the soon to be smoked beans. Drain some of the liquid off of the beans before adding to the pans. I didn’t drain them all, just about half. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and mix together before pouring into two different sets of aluminum pans.

Throw the beans in a smoker at 325. If there’s some sort of succulent meat right above the pans dripping down into the beans, then all the better. Basically, when they start bubbling in the middle (not the edges, the middle) then the smoked beans are done. That’s about an hour at 325. Adjust the time accordingly with a different smoker temperature. If you go much beyond when the middle is bubbling, the beans will turn to mush. They will still be good, but not as good as they can be. So remember, when the middle starts to bubble, they are ready to serve.

Oklahoma Joe's Beans
Oklahoma Joe’s Beans

I will say this, I made these beans for my annual pig roast on Memorial weekend 2015. I made way more than I needed and still had a couple pans in the fridge. We had the in laws over for some quick burgers the next night for dinner. Everyone was exhausted from setting up and tearing down a party for 70 people. I promised no cooking (other than the burgers) and very little cleaning: paper plates, plasticware, chips as the side, etc. I grilled the burgers for the kids and was about to put the adult burgers on when someone said, “What about the beans?” So no cooking and very little clean up turned into cooking and some clean up because everyone wanted those beans. The same beans they’d all eaten the day before. The same beans they’d gorged on the day before.

I didn’t have time to put them on the smoker so I cooked them in a pot on the stove and they were amazing. Not as good as they could be if smoked, but still fantastic. The fact that five adults, one of which was not a bean eater until that weekend, asked for these beans the day after binging on them says a ton.

Here are a couple other of my favorite grilled sides. Grilled Baked Potatoes and Grilled Salad. That’s right, Grilled Salad!

If you have any questions or comments about my spin on Oklahoma Joe’s smoked beans, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

4.5 from 13 reviews
My Spin on Oklahoma Joe's Smoked Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
I take maybe the best smoked bean recipe on the planet and tweak it. Sorry, it's what I do. Either way, you will be highly impressed with how these smoked beans turn out.
Ingredients
  • 1 117 oz can of baked beans (#10 can like you get at a warehouse club) - drain about a third of the juice if you can (it's hard as the sauce is thick - just drain what you can)
  • 30 ounces of black beans - juice drained off
  • 30 ounces of red kidney beans - juice drained off
  • 18-20 oz of BBQ sauce
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper and one red pepper, chopped
  • 1 serano pepper (substitute jalapeno)
  • 2 lbs brown sugar
  • 1 lb of smoked brisket, chopped
  • 1 cup bourbon
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large aluminum foil tray (I suggest stacking 2 or 3 trays on top of each other for stability)
  2. Mix together well
  3. Place on a smoker at 325 for 1 hour
  4. Remove from the heat and serve
 

 

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much perfection right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insanely talented @carlaocarvalho77 …… https://t.co/uKHWyunSxp - 2 years ago
Scott Thomas

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92 comments

Scott, your first ingredient – what kind of beans is that? I want to try these soon, but don’t want to mess up the first ingredient!

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Melissa,

I went and got a big can of baked beans from a warehouse/membership store. Just a standard can of bakes beans but the giant one…

…….Scott

I’ve been waiting to make this recipe ever since that event, what better weekend?

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I was wondering how many servings that would this recipe would be?

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Ed,

Not sure. A TON. It would serve a crowd. These exact measurements fed a crowd of 50 along with a whole hog I did with them…

…….Scott

Cover or no cover? Stir at any point?

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Dominic,

No cover and no stir. Covering will keep the smoke out. And don’t bother stirring once it hits the grill. The heat will do it for you…

…….Scott

Do you rinse the kidney and black beans prior to adding them or not? Making this delish looking recipe now with pulled BBQ moose.

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Ryan,

I poured them in without rinsing. Let me know how it comes out. Moose? Really? How cool is that!

…….Scott

My beans are better!!!

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This recipe has won the Memphis in May best side dish twice. I thought I had a wicked awesome bean recipe and then I had these. Not even close. Feel free to do a side by side taste test with some friends…

…….Scott

Please share

Do you drain the kidney and black beans prior to pouring them in the pan? I wasn’t sure if they needed to be drain. I will be making these today and very excited about it

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Nance,

I believe I did drain them somewhat. I didn’t leave them to drain for an hour, or pour them into a colander, but I did drain them somewhat…

…….Scott

What kind of BBQ sauce do you recommend? Do you have a recipe for a good homemade one?

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Sara,

I don’t have a specific sauce I use. I tend to avoid ones that use High Fructose Corn Syrup, but I have some in my pantry. I know that Kraft completely redid their entire line last year to use lots of great ingredients (real tomatoes, cane sugar, etc) and their sauces are really good. I generally don’t make my own sauce. I just buy one off the shelf and doctor it where needed…

…….Scott

I don’t have a smoker… Alternative cooking method?? Thanks.

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Faith,

You can make them in the oven and they will still be outstanding…

…….Scott

Have you tried this with any other smoked meat besides brisket?

Thanks

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Bobby,

I have not. I’d bet it would be pretty good with some smoked tri tip or pulled pork. If you try it with another meat, let me know how it comes out…

…….Scott

I use smoked ham hocks and they come out great. I de-bone everything and then throw in best pieces if meat. In my area at least, the smoked ham hocks are significantly cheaper and easier to come by.

Looks amazing. I saw another comment on making them in the oven. Would you keep the temp and time the same? Thanks for the recipes!

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Thanks, I’ve been looking for a smoked bean recipe to my liking for years. I believe this is the one. I’m thinking of adding a dollop of yellow mustard, nope no way following your recipe exactly.

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You will not be disappointed. Let me know how they come out…

…….Scott

Is there an alternative for bourbon in this recipe

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Dan,

Try a beer or wine. If the alcohol is a problem, try a nice alcohol free beer like Kaliber…

…….Scott

Two pounds of brown sugar, really?

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Kris,

Really

Do you have measurements to make a smaller batch, or could the extra be frozen?

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Cari,

The extra can most definitely be frozen. I have a pan in my deep freeze right now!

…….Scott

For the #10 can of beans…. Is it baked beans, pinto beans, navy/small pea beans? I 2nd Sara Jayne asking about which BBQ sauce… there are so many different flavors/ styles…. I used BBQ sauce when I make my meatloaf and depending on which one I use, it can COMPLETELY change the flavor profile. There have been ones I’ve used, liked them on other things (grilled keilbasa/chicken) and HATED when I used it for the meatloaf. Granted some of it its personal taste, but I would hate to make this amount of beans, and be disappointed with the outcome. I’m a “tweaker” too, but it would be good to have a reference to start from. Wishing we weren’t coming out of grilling season (I don’t have a smoker either) here in New England…although we do have an awesome local BBQ/Smokehouse where I could get the brisket….thinking of making these for a get-together at a friends house in a couple weeks….they look fantastic!!!

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A #10 can of baked beans, like you get at the local warehouse store. As for the BBQ sauce, I honestly don’t remember what variety I used. I have probably 4 dozen different kinds at my house as people send me sauces all the time. I wish I could be more help…

…….Scott

You mentioned thos served a whole party with leftovers. On a comment you mentioned it serves 50. Is this correct. O need to serve 150..thank you

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Eric,

Two full pans fed fifty as a side dish, but we also had about 3 other sides. The pans were full to the brim. Six full pans along with other sides and you should be golden…

…….Scott

I made them today and they were the best beans I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe.

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I was up in Tulsa last week and went to Oklahoma Joes for the first time and had the beans…excellent! We’re cooking beans for 125 people at our local mission Sunday and I’ve decided to use your recipe. We will be using large pots on the gas stove or oven at our church kitchen instead of a smoker. Any tips on stove top cooking if our oven isn’t big enough? The day before I’ll smoke a large brisket and will probably use 6 pounds for a triple batch. Since we won’t be using a smoker how much liquid smoke should be added? Is the bourbon flavor very noticeable? Many of the people we are feeding have alcohol problems. I know the alcohol will evaporate off, but we just want to be careful and not trigger an onslaught of relapses. We’ll be using Bush baked beans from Sam’s.

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Kirby,

Stove top, just use a large pot rather than aluminum pans, and heat it through. I’m not a fan of liquid smoke at all. I would omit it entirely. Also, skip the bourbon if you are worried about that. I couldn’t say mow much the bourbon flavor comes through as it has been more than a year since I made these. Good luck and let me know how they come out…

…….Scott

we made these beans for my son’s graduation party and everyone loved them, and asked for the recipe, I made them on the smoker and used the wal mart brand of bbq sauce with molasses. no leftovers at all, I made and smoked them the day before and put them in a crock pot on low the morning of the part, worked great.

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its says serano pepper or jalapeno. do you chop that or jus throw it in there and then take it out?

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Rsk,

Chop them up. The more white flesh you leave on the peppers, the hotter the beans will be…

…….Scott

Recommendation for wood pellet flavor?

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Ken,

Fruit woods would be great. Apple, Cherry, Peach, Pear are all excellent options.

Just want to say these beans are incredible. Thank you. This is my go to recipe. Not looking at others

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Willing to try

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Not sure what I did wrong. I halved the recipe. They are extremely runny. Drained some juice and put them back on the smoker. Any advise for next time?

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Mark,

I’m now draining almost all the juice out of mine for the same reason. Gonna go adjust the recipe.

Can you put the beans under a rack of poultry? Is there a risk of contamination from raw poultry juices? Also, how long did it take for the juices in the middle to bubble?

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Mark,

I wouldn’t. You would need to boil the beans if you did that and boiling them will turn the beans themselves into mush…

…….Scott

You don’t saute or cook the peppers and onion at all before putting them in? I’m guessing the hour of cooking softens them enough?

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That is correct, Adam.

This was a big hit at my company potluck today! Thanks Scott! Someone thought it was chili though. I almost blurted out “Haven’t you read Judge Smails chili thread on FBG? Beans don’t go in chili!”

what’s the purpose for adding bourbon

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Danny,

Bourbon has some great flavor, but you don’t have to add the bourbon by any means…

…….Scott

Lemme guess… you doubled the brown sugar? Cuz damn… that was awful =/

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Not at all, JP. That was the exact amount of brown sugar as the legend said to put in there. And considering I’ve never had anything but absolute raves about these beans from the more than 80 people that come to the yearly party where I serve them, I’m guessing that you just assumed this was bad because of the amount of sugar and didn’t actually make the beans or you didn’t follow the recipe. Which is it?

Hey Scott, the only thing I did differently was doubled the black beans and leave out the kidney beans which wouldn’t account for the sweetness. I think I’d really like the recipe if I went with half the sugar.

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JP,

That’s very weird. I’ve never had anyone say they didn’t like those beans. Most people say that I could serve bologna at my pig roast as long as I served the beans they would be there. Maybe give it another go and see if you get the same results…

…….Scott

I just tried it again with half the sugar and I loved it! Then again, I haven’t seen any other negative feedback here and I’ve certainly never won any competitions… different strokes for different folks i guess. Thanks for posting this recipe! It’s now my go to foundation for smoked beans.

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Hey Scott, thanks for the recipe I’ve been using it with a few of my own tweaks for about a year now and they are a huge hit. I never have to worry about left over beans. There have even been disagreements on who gets to take what home. Lol. Thanks again awesome recipe.

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Scott. These are my favorite. I’ve made them countless times now but it doesn’t make 2 full pans. It only makes 1 full pan. Typical chaffing pan is just under 3 inches. This recipe will fill it about 3/4 full after cooking. I make these gor catering alot but im not really sure how many it feeds but I guess 25. Please tell me if I’m wrong

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Eric,

I’m talking about disposable aluminum pans. They are much smaller than a standard chaffing pan…

…….Scott

Where do I get smoked brisket for the beans?

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Charlotte,

Go to any BBQ restaurant. They sell it in bulk. It’s not cheap, but it’s soooooo worth it!

…….Scott

I’ve bought some at Sam’s club. It’s already smoked and cooked just need to heat up for about $20. I know it’s cheating but my guests don’t know the difference and love these beans!!!! Although I don’t make them as sweet as the recipe calls for.

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Dan,

I buy smoked brisket from a local BBQ joint and do the same thing!

…….Scott

I’m going to do these with ribs, but I smoke my ribs at 225 degrees. How much longer should the beans take at that temperature ??

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Bruce,

Just cook till the middle starts to bubble. I’m guessing maybe an hour longer. Maybe 75 minutes. I can’t guarantee that because I always do them at 300 and don’t know for sure. Sorry. I wish I had a better answer for you.

I have been to Oklahoma Joes many times. The food is insanely awesome. The beans. Well you can eat them a s a main coarse. This weekend (Memorial weekend) I took on the challenge of making Joes beans. I used Scott’s copy recipe. I split it in half, and followed this directions. I made my beans on Friday night, i let the beans aged overbite to blend the spices together. Cooked them as stated. OMG perfection. They were the hit of the BBQ, by the way. We topped it off with ribs and we used Oklahomas joes BBQ sauce. I order it by the galloon and they ship it to me. Thanks for the recipe!!!

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How many will this recipe serve?

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An army…

What kind of wood do you smoke the beans with

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Connie,

Any fruit wood would work great (Apple, Cherry, Pear, Peach, Apricot)

I just made an awesome batch using Hickory.

Made these for the second time yesterday. Did a half-batch the first time, did a full batch this time. We drained about 1/3 of the #10 can and then ran the black and kidneys through a colander and still had plenty of liquid. Used Bulls-eye original sauce and smoked with hickory. Absolutely fantastic! I could just sit and eat the beans! We tested freezing with the first batch and I can attest that they hold up beautifully. Another example of a recipe that gets better with the reheat. Speaking of reheat, the recipe fits nicely into a 7 qt. Crock Pot. Being in the South, brisket is more of an occasional thing for me, so every time I do a brisket now, I will be reserving and pre-chopping enough to make several batches of beans before the next time. I know I could substitute pulled pork, but these are so good I don’t want to mess with it! Just curious, what sort of things did you tweek?

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I own a bba concession trailer and these are my go to beans, people come just for them, best beans they’ve ever had they say.

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I have made this recipe numerous times now. This last time I used left over smoked pork butt and they were just as good as with brisket, in fact other than texture, I don’t think there was any difference.

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I noticed someone asked about what BBQ sauce. Speaking for myself, I don’t care for most of the Stubbs products but they make a bourbon BBQ sauce that seems to compliment this recipe perfectly.

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I would like a smaller amount recipe and could you not go ahead and cook in the oven

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Sheila,

Just adjust the recipe accordingly for as much as you want to make. I make these all the time with 4 standard, small cans of beans. And yes, you can make them in the oven.

I have been making BQ for 45 years and my Beans where always the complemented side of the party. My beans didn’t include the black beans, kidney beans or the bourbon. Growing up in the Meat business I was the cutter for a BQ team that won Grand Champion overall at the American Royal and other top prizes at others. We had my beans at all of the pre parties they where the rave. About two years ago My Brother in law made this recipe for a family party and Wow. I have made this recipe every since but I didn’t know about the bourbon. The next time it will be added. Again They Will BQ a party. Side note. The recipe can be made in smaller amount. Just by percentages. Thanks for posting the Recipe.

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Willard,

Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

I didn’t show five stars on my first comment. I will say it again this BQ Bean recipe will be first prize at any party

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Hello Scott! This recipe sounds amazing! Quick question do you smoke the beans uncovered I’m assuming to get that great smoked flavor?lisa

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Lisa,

Yes, cook them uncovered…

…….Scott

Thank you! I’m making these for a baby & brew baby shower this weekend and I’m sure they will be a hit!

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To cut recipe in half I used two 28 oz. cans Bush Original Baked Beans, one 16 oz. can Bush dark red kidney beans, one 15 oz. can Bush Black beans. Opened and poured separately in a colander then into mixing bowl but not rinsed. Used all of the veges. I doubled up on jalaps, no seeds no pyth. There not hot right now. I don’t like to use a little of this and a little of that of perishables. The rest of the recipe measurements cut in half. Results were just a tad soupy. Fits in a 13 x 9 deep dish aluminum pan, doubled for strength. Made and smoked them the night before. Covered and refrigerated 18 hrs. then oven at 350 for one hour. Then on to the party. There was supposed to be 20 people there. I think there was more the that. I went back for seconds. At the end of the night no beans left. CRAZY GOOD. Lots of compliments. As others have said “my go to beans” from now on.

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I’ve made this several times, cutting down the 117 oz of baked beans quite a bit. Turned out awesome! A huge hit at our class reunion. I make them at about 230 degrees in the smoker until they get kind of a black crust on the top.

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These beans are soooo good that I would name my first born child after you, except that she is already born and “Scott” would be kind of a funny name for a girl…. :). Anyway, I doubled the recipe and served at our barbecue for 85 people. Folks kept returning for seconds on beef and beans. We went through all but one pan of beans! (I also served sliced smoked beef, potato salad, cole slaw, and rolls.) These beans were a huge hit! I made a few small alterations to the recipe. First, I reduced the 2 cups brown sugar to 1.5 cups because I used Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce which is already very sweet. Also, I didn’t have any left-over brisket so I used a pack of pulled pork from Costco. I smoked the beans (using cherry wood) at 325 degrees F for about 1.5 hours in deep lasagna pans until the beans bubbled in the middle- just like you said to do. Besides the fabulous taste, another nice thing about this recipe is that it works well from a timing perspective. After I pulled 60 pounds of beef off the smoker, I needed time to let the beef “rest” before carving it. This allowed me a perfect window of opportunity to crank up the temperature on the smoker and add 4 big pans of these beans, which were piping hot and ready to come of out the smoker by the time the guests arrived. Some of our guests were grizzled ol’ Montana cowboys who aren’t easily impressed with a pan of beans… and even *they* were raving about them. Forever in your debt for sharing one of the best recipes of all time!!! Warm regards and many thanks are sent from high in the Montana Rockies!

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Can you freeze

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Jayma,

Absolutely. Every year for the annual pig roast we do on Memorial Day, I make four pans, serve three and freeze the fourth.

Excited to try this for our trap shoot party this weekend. Just a question about serving size. Will one recipe be enough for 25 people?

Reply

Yes, that should work

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