How to make smoked canned baked beans with these 7 best woods

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 27, 2021

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Beans, beans they’re good for your heart…okay, let’s stop there. But in all seriousness, baked beans are delicious.

Not only that, but they are also

  • inexpensive,
  • full of fiber,
  • heart-healthy,
  • low in fat
  • and a great superfood,

even if they haven’t been officially dubbed as a superfood!

This begs the question, what are the best woods for smoking best beans?

This article will answer that question and provide tips for preparing a side that is absolutely delicious.

Smoked baked beans on a wooden table

If you want to elevate your baked bean eating experience, smoking them will take them to the next level.

The process can give them a taste that is slightly fruity or deeply smokey, depending on the wood you use.

Smoked baked beans recipe

Smoked baked beans from the can

Joost Nusselder
Here's a recipe with a kick that I know you'll enjoy!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 6 slices peppered bacon thick cut and halved
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 whole jalapenos seeds and stems removed, diced
  • 2 28 oz cans pork and beans
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp molasses


  • Preheat smoker to 250 degrees using the wood of your choice.
  • Preheat 12” cast iron skillet over medium to high heat. Cook bacon for 2 to 3 minutes a side.
  • Remove bacon pieces and place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain.
  • Leave bacon grease in pan and cook bacon and jalapenos 3-5 minutes stirring often until they are soft and slightly translucent.
  • Pour cans of beans into pan and add barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and molasses. Stir to combine.
  • Place slices of bacon on top of beans and place in smoker
  • Smoke for 3 hours or until fat has rendered from bacon and beans have thickened up. Remove from smoker and serve warm.
Keyword bacon, baked beans, Smoked
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Smoked baked beans make a great side for barbecued meats (like my favorite ones here!), sandwiches, and more.

What are the best woods for smoking baked beans

Experts say that almost any type of wood can be used to smoke beans; with the exception of mesquite. Mesquite has an exceptionally smokey taste that can overpower the beans.

That being noted, here is a list of some woods that are typically used in smoking and what you can expect as far as the flavor profiles it will give your beans.

  • Hickory: Another great go-to for providing a terrific smokey taste.
  • Cedar: Cedar has a strong flavor that is often used to smoke seafood
  • Pecan: Gives food a nutty taste and mixes well with fruitwood.

Cherry and Apple are actually one of the best woods for smoking trout as well as you can read in this article on the best trout smoking woods.

Tips for making great smoked baked beans

Canned or not canned

Those who think that baked beans come only in the canned variety are in for a shock.

You can actually make baked beans from scratch using a bean mixture and the ingredients of your choice for the sauce. Making beans from scratch will definitely elevate your dish.

However, if you feel like taking it easy, you can simply use beans from the can and smoke them that way.

The tools

Some people will use a smoker to smoke their baked beans while others use a cast iron skillet.

Of course, the tools you use will be a matter of personal taste and it will also depend on what you have handy, but the cast iron skillet will allow you to do everything in one pan making for easier clean up.

To bacon or not to bacon

To bacon, definitely to bacon. Almost every smoked baked bean recipe includes bacon so if you don’t like bacon, you may be hard pressed to find a recipe that’s right for you.

Smoking bacon along with beans will make for a texture that is tender as opposed to crispy and the thinner you slice your bacon, the more tender it will be.

If you want your bacon crispy, try broiling the beans in the skillet after you take it out of the smoker making sure the sugar in the beans doesn’t burn.

Season as desired

There are several ingredients and seasonings you can add to your baked beans dish to give it a unique flavor.

Since beans have a somewhat neutral taste, you don’t have to worry too much about adding something that will ruin your dish. Experiment to find the ingredients you prefer.

Also read: how to make deliciously snackable beef sticks yourself

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.