It’s not really a barbecue without beans – is it?  Fishing? Camping? Hiking? Backyard Barbecue?  All of these are great opportunities for the satisfaction of a skillet full of homemade beans!


  • 2        15-oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ C   Chopped onion
  • ½ C   Catsup
  • ½ C   Hot Strong Coffee
  • 6        Slices bacon, crisp, crumbled 
  • 2T     Worcestershire
  • 1 T    Brown Sugar


In a cast-iron skillet combine the beans, onion, catsup, coffee, bacon, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.  Cook over a high heat until the mixture boils (usually about 15 minutes or so). Cover and cook on a lower heat (move the skillet away from the flame) for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

There are so many ways to vary this basic recipe so feel free to adapt it to your own taste. A few ideas we’ve collected from other campers are:

  • The beans themselves. Some people prefer to use canned beans in the manufacturer’s sauce and then add their own flavors. Others prefer to start with dry navy beans and soak them overnight.
  • The flavors that people choose are as individual as the cook! To adjust the flavor to suit yourself you will want to focus on the Worcestershire Sauce and brown sugar ingredients. Consider garlic, cider vinegar, mustard, your favorite barbecue sauce, hot sauce and molasses for your flavoring.
  • For the really serious Campfire Cowboy there is the smoking method which adds extra flavor to the beans in the same way that smokey flavor adds to all the other foods that are smoked. Suggestions for wood flavoring chips are for mild or fruit woods; although mesquite is considered as too strong for this dish.


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