Claypot Meaty Baked Beans

Oftentimes, a from scratch recipe meant to impress ends up being intimidating enough to discourage someone from taking the plunge at all. When that threatens to happen, I like to encourage home cooks with some of my favorite recipes that are not "from scratch" but instead fixer uppers using more approachable ingredients and keeping you from standing in front of a stove for hours. Those fussy recipes definitely have their place, but for most of us most of the time, a that'll do approach is more likely to get dinner on the table. This time around, I'm sharing one of my favorite fixer upper recipe: Claypot Meaty Baked Beans.

This recipe takes a can of baked beans, a can of black beans, and a bevy of other ingredients that find themselves mixed together in a clay pot and baked in a warm oven. Don't have a clay pot? Use any oven proof vessel you've got - everything from a Dutch oven to a large cast iron skillet will do the trick. If you don't have or don't like one or more of the ingredients, play around the recipe to get a combination you like. The idea is to tweak what you've got to get that smokehouse quality pot of meaty baked beans that people pay top dollar for at restaurants without the aforementioned hours in front of the stove.

I will serve these beans over rice with a chopped salad this time of the year. They are also stunningly good tucked into almost any burrito or alongside just about anything grilled. There aren't a lot of foods I dream about more than once, but these beans make the list. I hope you try them and enjoy them!

Claypot Meaty Baked Beans

  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-coins
  • ½ - 1 lb. cooked pork roast, cubed (can substitute same amount of thick cut bacon)
  • 1 T. cooking fat - I used bacon fat
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • ¼ c. chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tsp. Penzeys BBQ 3000 or similar seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 c. chicken or beef broth
  • ¼ c. BBQ sauce
  • ¼ c. grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 (28 oz.) can baked beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and brown the sausage and pork roast (or bacon) until both are a little crisp and browned at the edges; remove to an oven proof clay pot and set aside.

Add the onion, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring often, until everything softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, chili powder, BBQ 3000, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, BBQ sauce, grainy mustard, and liquid smoke until combined.

Stir in the baked and black beans directly from the cans. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat. Transfer the contents of the skillet into the clay pot and mix everything together.

Place the clay pot in a cold oven, set the temperature to 350° F, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Garnish the beans with sliced green onions with more at the table for anyone wanting more.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 50 minutes