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BBQ Beef and Beans

It’s been a while since I’ve made something that was just a straight up simple comfort food, and after a super long week comfort food was definitely in order. These BBQ Beef and Beans are like the love child of baked beans and beef chili. They’re hearty and flavorful, they meal prep well, and can be as no-fuss or as “from scratch” as you want them to be. I’ve included instructions to make them vegetarian or to amp up the vegetable content below, so scroll on down to see more!

A skillet full of BBQ Beef and Beans with a wooden spoon and a black ceramic bowl of BBQ sauce on the side.

P.S. I’ll be posting this homemade BBQ Sauce recipe on its own tomorrow, along with plenty of ways to put it to good use!

Make it Vegetarian

To make this dish vegetarian, you’ll need to swap the Worcestershire sauce for a vegetarian version (Worcestershire contains anchovies). Annies Vegan Worcestershire Sauce is the most popular brand and can be found at stores like Whole Foods, or other large grocers. Once your BBQ sauce is vegetarian, just swap the ground beef for one extra can of beans. I suggest pinto, so you have a nice trio of shapes and colors with your beans, but you could also double up on either the kidney or black beans.

Pump Up The Vegetables

I’m usually all about adding vegetables into my dishes wherever possible, but today I just wanted to keep things as simple as possible. If you want to add a few vegetables in there to balance things out, you can add a diced onion, diced bell pepper, or even some shredded cabbage (make it easy and use bagged shredded coleslaw mix, a couple handfuls added when you brown the beef should do it). 

Front view of a bowl of BBQ Beef and Beans topped with cheddar and green onion, and a fork lifting a bite.

Homemade BBQ Sauce vs. Store Bought

I had been working on a homemade BBQ sauce recipe this week, so I went ahead and used my homemade sauce in this recipe. If you don’t feel like making your own, or don’t have the necessary ingredients on hand, feel free to sub 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce.

How to Serve BBQ Beef and Beans

I served mine bowl-style over some brown rice and topped with cheddar and green onion, but you could also serve this on a bun like a slider or sloppy joe! Or just on its own with some saltine or oyster crackers. 

Close up of BBQ Beef and Beans in the skillet, topped with sliced green onion.

 

BBQ Beef and Beans

Serve these sweet, tangy, and savory BBQ Beef and Beans with rice and cheese for a simple and comforting weeknight dinner the whole family will love.

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans ($0.89)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.89)

Homemade BBQ Sauce*

  • 8 oz. tomato sauce ($0.25)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.10)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.12)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses ($0.35)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • salt to taste ($0.02)

For Serving

  • 4 cups <strong>cooked</strong> rice ($0.80)
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.85)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.22)
  1. Add the oil and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic for one minute over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until cooked through. If using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat before moving on to the next step.

  2. Rinse the two cans of beans, then drain them well. Add the beans to the skillet with the ground beef.

  3. Add the ingredients for the Homemade BBQ Sauce to the skillet (tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper).

  4. Stir and cook the mixture until the sauce ingredients have combined and created a thick sauce. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer and then simmer the beef and beans in the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp).

  5. To serve the BBQ Beef and Beans, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup of the BBQ Beef and Beans, then top with about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

*To make this recipe faster and easier, substitute 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce for the homemade BBQ sauce listed above.

Love BBQ sauce? Try my BBQ Beef and Cabbage, Loaded Mashed Potato Bowls, Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner, or BBQ Bean Sliders.

Overhead view of a bowl full of BBQ Beef and Beans, served with rice and topped with cheddar and green onion. A bowl of green onion on the side.

Step by Step Photos

Cooked brown rice in the pot.

If you’ll be serving your BBQ Beef and Beans with rice, begin cooking it first so that it’s ready when the beef and beans are finished cooking (cook your rice according to the package directions). 

Minced garlic cooking in a skillet with oil. A wooden spatula in the skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet, along with 2 minced cloves of garlic. Sauté over medium for one minute.

Browned ground beef.

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content ground beef, drain the excess fat before moving onto the next step.

Rinsed beans in the skillet with the browned beef.

Rinse and drain one 15 oz. can of kidney beans and one 15 oz. can of black beans. Add them to the skillet with the browned beef.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients in the skillet with the beef and beans.

Next, add the ingredients for the homemade bbq sauce (8 oz. tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp molasses, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper). Or add 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce. You may notice that my tomato paste is covered in frost. I routinely portion and freeze my leftover tomato paste in 1 Tbsp portions to save it for later. :)

Finished BBQ Beef and Beans in the skillet with a wooden spatula

Continue to stir and cook the mixture until all the sauce ingredients are completely combined. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, then let the skillet simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Finally, taste the BBQ Beef and Beans and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp). 

Finished bowl of BBQ Beef and Beans served over rice and topped with cheddar and green onions.

To serve, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup BBQ Beef and Beans, some shredded cheddar, and sliced green onions. Then go to town!

 

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