Pig Roast Side Dishes – Baked Beans

Pig Roast side dish - baked beansSkip down to Bean Pot equipment
Skip down to Baked Beans recipe

One of my favorite side dishes to serve at a whole pig roast is baked beans. They just seem to go together perfectly! And with an authentic bean pot (more on a bean pot later) and a great recipe (I’ll share my baked bean recipe below), the beans will be a big hit. As you can almost taste in the photo to the left, baked beans just seem to be better if they are cooked over a fire in an old-timer’s dutch oven (also known as a bean pot).

And the great thing about baked beans is that you can cook them slowly without worrying or fussing over them. If you are in charge of the pig roast, you might want to pick up a bean pot and you can either put the bean pot right in the fire that the pig is cooking over or, build or buy a tripod like the one shown. Either way, the beans will be a big hit when you pull them out of the coals or off the fire!

Equipment (Mostly optional)

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Now if you have a cast iron dutch oven already, you are ahead of the game. Otherwise you can shop for one. Try to get at least an 8 quart size for 50 to 100 guests. If you have a lot of big eaters or if you are just worried about running out, cook up a back-up batch on your stove and, if you see it is running out, dump the “domesticated beans” in the bean pot and keep on serving (I won’t tell).

If you are just getting a bean pot, here’s a couple of tips. Make sure you get a seasoned pot or be prepared to season it. Otherwise as the bean juice condenses on the sides, some rust might appear. Not a big problem but best to have your bean pot seasoned.

If you need to season any cast iron ware, just scrub it out with soap and water (only use soap if you need to season it!), then once it is nice and clean both inside and out, coat the entire pot with corn oil. Pop it in your oven at 400 F. degrees and leave it in there for an hour. Turn off the oven and let the pot slowly cool off inside the oven. There… a beautifully seasoned pot ready to go!

If you plan to put your bean pot directly on the coals of your pig roast, be sure the pot has legs to lift it a bit off the coals, otherwise it will smother the bed of coals. If you are hanging the pot from a tripod, the legs on the dutch oven are not of concern.

Try to have a pair of fireplace gloves or other well insulated gloves or thick towels on hand to move the pot as needed and to pull off the lid to tantalize the crowds with the aroma (don’t let too much of that aroma escape tho!).

Tripod

As you can tell by the photo at the top, I like using a tripod for the dutch oven. It can give your party an extra appeal as you can have the beans cooking over an open fire next to the pig fire or next to the serving station. And when it is time to serve, you can simply pull the cover off the beans and put a serving spoon in them for an easy and exciting side dish. If you do use a tripod like the one pictured, be sure to plan ahead and put 3 flat stones where the tripod legs are. Otherwise if you have soft ground, it is possible that one or more of the legs will start sinking into the dirt. Once the tripod is off-balance, it will continue to sink into the ground and possibly tip over (and beans will be everywhere!). Where I am now in CT, the ground is hard enough not to be a problem but when I lived in sandy Florida, 3 concrete blocks solved the problem.

Baked Beans Recipe – A Great Pig Roast Side Dish

We are probably all familiar with cans of pork and beans. You can open a bunch of cans and dump them in the cooker. That can be a great addition to a pig roast but to me, that is kinda cheating :-) . If you are cooking a pig all day long, why not give everyone a treat and make those baked beans from scratch and allow them to simmer for a long time as well?

Here’s my recipe that you can change to suit your own taste buds. I figure this will be enough for 30-50 people so adjust it accordingly based upon your crowd and their appetites. The beans will need to soak overnight, then cooked for an hour or so. Then you’ll need a few minutes to add the ingredients together before putting them on the campfire for 4-6 hours. Seems like a lot of time but it really is easy since most of the time it is simmering.

  • 3 1 lb bags of dry Navy Beans, cleaned and soaked overnight
  • 1/2 lb of Sausage, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 lb of Bacon, diced, lightly cooked and drained
  • 1 cup Onion, coarsely minced
  • 1 cup Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 4 Beef Bullion cubes (or for a real treat, use 4 Tbsp of Minor’s Beef Base!)
  • 1/2 cup Blackstrap Molasses
  • 2 15oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Dump the dry beans on a sheet pan and scan them carefully for little stones, discolored beans, sticks, and other debris. There shouldn’t be much of anything in there but one little stone can ruin someone’s tooth! Rinse the beans well and put them in a pot and let them soak in cool water overnight (use lots of water as they will increase in bulk). Don’t use the cast iron dutch oven for soaking and boiling the beans in water — otherwise you might get some rusting on the cast iron pot. Just use a big kitchen pot (or a few of them) for the initial bean soaking and boiling.

In the morning, dump the water out, put fresh water in the pot and put them on the stove for an hour or so to cook (and soften up). After they’ve cooked for an hour, check to see if the beans are tender and when they are, dump the water out and start putting the ingredients together.

Cook the bacon and sausage and put them in the dutch oven. Add the onion, bell pepper, chili peppers, and garlic and cook them together until the onion is translucent. Put the remaining ingredients in and stir together. Put the pot on the campfire on low coals and you are almost done!

Stir every 1/2 hour to 1 hour and if it looks like the beans are getting dry, add 1/2 cup of hot water to them to keep them from drying out.

Now here is the crowning touch… since this is a pig roast, when the pig is almost done and the baked beans are almost done, take a little strip of the smoky belly, dice it up, and toss it into the bean pot and stir it in. If you are cooking the pig in the ground or otherwise don’t have access to it, you can do that when the pig comes out or skip it all together. But if you are slowly smoking the pig, that will be the Pièce de résistance that turns your baked beans into a masterpiece!

Give it a try or try something different and let us know how it works out.

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