Dutch Oven Baked Beans | Easy Camping Meal

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A cast iron dutch oven is such a versatile tool and one that I am so glad that I learned how to use. These dutch oven baked beans are an easy camping meal on their own but also make a great side dish for just about any grilled dinner.

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Dutch oven with charcoal and baked beans

This baked bean recipe is an adaptation of my mom’s recipe. Growing up it was always a favorite dish of mine. Grilled chicken smothered with BBQ sauce and served with healthy portions of baked beans and red potato salad, a tall glass of iced tea (unsweet because it was the north) and citronella candle burning on the table signaled summer during my childhood.

If you are unfamiliar with how to use a dutch oven there are lots of resources available. (You can download our free temperature chart below.) Of course, YouTube is loaded with videos but if you are looking for some hands-on practice check with your local state park. Here in Arkansas, many of the state parks offer regular Dutch oven cooking classes. That’s how I got started.

When cooking with a dutch oven I prefer to use charcoal briquettes as opposed to smoldering wood. With briquettes, you can easily estimate how long they will stay hot and how many you will need to maintain the required temperature. With wood, there are too many variables and it is not as reliable, in my opinion.

Dutch oven baked beans are a quintessential camping meal and make me think of cowboys and pioneers heading out into the wild west. We use canned beans for ease but you could certainly cook beans from scratch. Navy beans are our favorite but northern beans also work really well.

Pro Tip: Add chopped up hot dogs, smoked sausage or cubed ham to make these baked beans more of a main dish.

Dutch Oven Baked Beans a classic camping meal that's easy to prepare

Dutch Oven Baked Beans

Tools

4-quart cast iron dutch oven
Charcoal briquettes
Lighter
Charcoal briquette chimney starter

Optional Tools

Camp stove windscreen
Dutch oven table
Dutch oven lid lifter

Ingredients

2 15 oz. Cans of Navy Beans
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup molasses
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon mustard
2-4 Tablespoons ketchup

Directions for Dutch Oven Baked Beans

Fill your chimney starter with charcoal briquettes and light. Allow the charcoal to become white and ashy. If possible, preheat your dutch oven on a camp stove.

In a small bowl combine Worcestershire, molasses, brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Stir well to combine. Add beans, onions and bacon and pour into your dutch oven.

Place coals on your dutch oven to maintain 350°. If you use a 4-quart dutch oven it is probably 10″ across so you will need 7 coals on bottom and 14 on top for a total of 21. Be sure to check the size of your dutch oven and refer to our temperature guide printable (available below) for accurate amount and placement of coals.

If you are using canned beans you will need to cook for 1 to 1.5 hours. For fresh soaked bean, you will want to increase the time to 3 or more hours.

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Dutch Oven Baked Beans

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: baked beans, bbq, beans, campfire, camping, cookout, dutch oven

Equipment

  • 4-quart cast iron dutch oven
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Lighter
  • Charcoal briquette chimney starter
  • Camp stove windscreen
  • Dutch oven table
  • Dutch oven lid lifter

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. Cans of Navy Beans
  • 1/2 pound bacon chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 2-4 Tablespoons ketchup

Instructions

  • Fill your chimney starter with charcoal briquettes and light. Allow the charcoal to become white and ashy. If possible, preheat your dutch oven on a camp stove.
  • In a small bowl combine Worcestershire, molasses, brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Stir well to combine. Add beans, onions and bacon and pour into your dutch oven.
  • Place coals on your dutch oven to maintain 350°. If you use a 4-quart dutch oven it is probably 10" across so you will need 7 coals on bottom and 14 on top for a total of 2Be sure to check the size of your dutch oven and refer to our temperature guide printable (available belofor accurate amount and placement of coals.
  • If you are using canned beans you will need to cook for 1 to 1.5 hours. For fresh soaked bean, you will want to increase the time to 3 or more hours.

campfire cooking - dutch oven baked beans recipe

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