There are a few foods I actually look forward to cold weather so I can make, these cowboy beans are one of those recipes. They're like the ultimate baked beans; several varieties of beans are cooked in a meaty, sweet and tangy sauce, the addition of bacon certainly improves the flavor. You can have it on the table in under 90 minutes, or put it in a slow cooker early in the afternoon for dinner.
I'm not certain why they're called cowboy beans, and they probably wouldn't have been made this way on the frontier, but this comfort food recipe deserves to be eaten whatever it's called. I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious recipe soon!
Adapted from Diana Rattray
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef (I used ground chuck)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sorghum or other molasses
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. mustard (I used mustard powder)
1 can (approx. 16 ounces) pork 'n beans
1 can (approx. 16 ounces) butter beans, drained
1 can (approx. 16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1 can (approx. 16 ounces) pinto beans, drained
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
Step 2: Prepare Sauce
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, granulated sugar, brown sugar, molasses (or sorghum), chili powder, salt, and pepper to a small bowl, mix to combine.
Step 3: Cook and Enjoy
In a (preferably ovenproof) dutch oven or large saucepan, cook ground beef until browned, breaking up and stirring as it cooks. I prefer to transfer cooked beef to a colander and drain, if you don't mind the extra fat, leave it in the pan, or, tilt the pan and spoon some of the grease out. Add onion and cook until lightly browned and tender.
If you've removed the beef, return it to the pan, add all the beans and the sauce. Mix well.
If your pan isn't ovenproof, transfer to casserole dish, or slow cooker, and top with chopped bacon.
Bake for an hour, or, cook in covered slow cooker on HIGH for 1 hour, then reduce heat to LOW and cook 2 to 4 hours.
Serve and enjoy.
Cowboy beans make excellent leftovers, they can be stored, in a covered container, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.