Old Fashioned 15 Beans Cowboy Style

Friday, July 19, 2019
This easy recipe is so hearty even a cowgirl will love these old-fashioned barbecued bean flavors!

These cowboy-style beans are the perfect side dish and with the addition of ground beef, a whole meal in itself!

We usually omit the meat in these beans for our summer cookouts and just make a plain ole smoky barbecued bean pot.

They are a perfect match for our grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and other favorites when we have a cookout with grilled meats.

The pot is loaded with 15 types of beans and with the additional flavors when adding bacon or ham used in this recipe, these become the best camping food or picnic side dish all year long!

We add the ground beef usually in winter months when you need a hearty stick to your ribs bean dish that will warm you up!

These cowboy-style beans are great for feeding a large crowd perfect for all your friends and family gatherings, especially game day, cookouts, potlucks, and kinds of party events.

We love to serve them with pulled chicken, pulled pork, or any style of hamburger.

These can even be a topping for rice or baked potatoes!

We usually add ground beef during the winter months and this would act more like a hearty chili than a side dish.

Either way, everyone loves these tasty beans, packed with delicious flavors and that addition of bacon or ham is what gives this comfort food it's character.

this is a slow cooked recipe in a big white bowl of barbecued cowboy style beans using 15 kinds of beans

Beans and Meats

Real cowboy beans have ground beef in them always.

I make this bean recipe two different ways, when it's a cookout, I omit the meats since there is usually an abundance of grilled options to choose from and these beans will be just a side dish.

For game day and events, the ground beef meat goes into the pot or cut up some hotdogs and these cowboy beans become more like a hearty chili.

You can adapt the recipe as needed.

Either way, the beans will get their smoky flavor from the bacon or ham used and if you prefer to add lots of meat, you can even use any leftover chunks of ham or a lot more crumbled cooked bacon.

These beans are delicious both ways.

this is a slow cooked recipe in a big white bowl of barbecued cowboy style beans using 15 kinds of beans

Ingredients You Will Need:

scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements

  • 1 pound package of 15 beans with a ham flavoring packet ( that packet is in the package of beans and used to soak them in)
  • Water or chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • sliced bacon, ham chopped up
  • garlic
  • granulated garlic powder
  • ketchup
  • dark brown sugar
  • honey
  • white vinegar
  • molasses
  • yellow mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil or use bacon grease
  • optional items: sliced hotdogs, ground beef around 1 pound, onions, oregano dried, jalapeno peppers, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce

this is a slow cooked recipe in a big white bowl of barbecued cowboy style beans using 15 kinds of beans


You can make this recipe in half or make the whole recipe and use the leftovers for different toppings for another meal.

As I mentioned you can add ground beef for sweet smoky chili, or just use these beans as a topping over rice, pasta, or baked potatoes.

Beans don't freeze very well and the flavor and texture are compromised although some folks say it's ok, I dislike them frozen.

You can try a little in a container and see if it's something you like, it's a matter of preference in taste, they, however, can be frozen if you have a ton leftover.

this is a slow cooked recipe in a big white bowl of barbecued cowboy style beans using 15 kinds of beans

Change it Up

You don't have to use the variety package of 15 beans I chose to make in this recipe, make your favorite kind.

Navy beans, black beans, butter beans, and any kind of dried beans work great.

Yes, you can use canned also but we always use dried for the creaminess difference they make.

Adapt this recipe and change it to what kinds of beans you like, this is just a guideline for making a basic sauce for barbecued beans.

You can add any kinds of meats you prefer as well if you're turning it into a chili you can even use ground chicken, turkey, or even ground venison for a change in flavors.

this is a pot of slow cooked 15 beans in a ham broth getting ready to make barbecued cookout picnic beans

Sweet or Hot?

You will have to determine what your family likes.

The options are many for heat.

You can adjust the heat but start out with a little and add as needed to taste.

Suggestions for heat or a few hot jalapeno peppers added to the pot, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce.

You will have to make that call!

this is a pot of slow cooked 15 beans in a ham broth getting ready to make barbecued style cowboy cookout picnic beans

Using Dried Beans

The bean's skin has more resistance, which means each bean is a tiny package of chewy, pillowy, creamy flavor.

The soft mushy kind is more common in canned beans nowhere near as creamy tasting.

Dried beans are always cheaper than the ones in the can also.

Soak them, slow cook them in the crockpot, or just boil them, but just to soften them.

Here's an easy way for those who never tried beans from scratch:

Put your beans in a pot and cover them in a few inches of water.

Throw the whole pot in your refrigerator overnight.

Don't forget to rinse them off the next day and drain them.

this is a pot of slow cooked 15 beans in a ham broth getting ready to make barbecued style cowboy cookout picnic beans

Forgot to soak your beans?

Just put those beans in a pot, cover them with water, bring them up to a boil, and then cover the pot and turn off the heat.

Let them sit for at least half an hour in the hot water, drain them, and on with the recipe, they will take longer to soften and cook unless you use an instant pot and pressure cooker method.

Note: doing them quickly may need more liquid added when making this recipe as they will take longer to cook and liquid will boil away so cooking times will vary.  Always test the beans for softness while cooking to ensure they are done.

this is a barbecue sauce with 15 different kinds of beans in the sauce called cowboy beans without the meat in it except for the flavoring of ham or bacon


  • Soaking the beans in salt water prevents them from bursting and gives them an even creamier texture.
  • Beans can also be softened in a slow cooker method, however, do not go past 6 hours of soaking time, and add some salt to the water.
  • Bacon or ham gives the beans their must-have smoky and meaty flavor.
  • Boiling the beans as directed on the package with ham flavor is also recommended as an option.
  • Slowly cooking the beans will infuse the taste into the beans with better flavors.
  • For spicy beans, add a few jalapeno peppers to the pot while cooking, or a 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.
  • Serving suggestions with beans: pulled pork, barbecue chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, kielbasa, corn on the cob, twice baked potatoes

this is a slow cooked recipe in a big white bowl of barbecued cowboy style beans using 15 kinds of beans

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this is a barbecue sauce with 15 different kinds of beans in the sauce called cowboy beans without the meat in it

Camping Style

These old-fashioned beans will remind you of being on a camping trip!

Better yet, if you go on a camping trip bring a batch with you already made, they taste great reheated or with an addition of chopped hotdogs in the pot!

You can feed a large crowd easily, and everyone will love them.

It really is the best camping or picnic food!

Oh, and don't forget to try my 15 Beans Italian Merlot Chili!

Happy trails and enjoy these delicious homemade Western-tasting bbq beans at your next party.

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Old Fashioned 15 Beans Cowboy Stylehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wr8usWg2PYthese are a saucy barbecued beans
Yield: 12

15 Bean Cowboy Barbecued Beans

prep time: 11 Mcook time: 4 hourtotal time: 4 H & 11 M
This is a delicious barbecue homemade sauce called cowboy beans. There are 15 kinds of beans with ham or bacon-flavored sweet sauce. You can adjust the heat as you like it.


  • 1 pound 15 beans with ham flavoring picked over and rinsed soaked for 7 hours (or overnight in water or use a slow cooker on low for 6 to 7 hours) then drained or use any kind of dried beans like Northern white beans if you prefer
  • Water or chicken stock 2 to 3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound of cooked crumbled bacon, browned ground beef drained, or honey spiral  ham leftover diced up
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil or use bacon grease
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for heat or use 2 tablespoons hot sauce, 1/2 cup minced onions.
  • (I don't add onion as they get stronger in flavors in leftovers which are not preferred by our taste)
  • Note: The recipe can be cut in half and use the other 1/2 pound beans for making soup. 


How to cook 15 Bean Cowboy Barbecued Beans

  1. For all cooking methods, after soaking beans, drain. All cooking times will vary
  2. by how soft the beans are when you start this recipe. Adapt by testing the beans for softness.
  3. Stovetop:
  4. Heat oil and add the garlic to a large deep sauce pot and saute, stirring occasionally, until garlic just softens around 3 minutes. ( If you like onions use them at this step also,)
  5. Stir in the 2 cups of chicken stock reserved bacon or ham, and beans.
  6.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer.
  7. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, honey, molasses, mustard, and vinegar. Add the beans. 
  8. Simmer the sauce with beans on low heat for 2 to  3  hours, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens. 
  9. Add the cooked meats and simmer on low heat (any kind of meats you prefer for around 30 minutes before the sauce and beans are cooked) same directions are for all cooking methods
  10. Note:   if beans start to dry out add more broth of water.
  11. For other cooking methods:
  12. You can transfer all ingredients to a slow cooker on low heat which takes  8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 6 hours depending on how soft your beans were from soaking. Test them and continue cooking until the beans are cooked all the way.
  13. The oven will take around 2  1/2  hours at 350 degrees, ( cooked in a large greased deep casserole dish) just keep testing the beans to see if they are softened and if the sauce is thick but not dry, add more water if needed or chicken stock.
  14. These can also be done in an instant pot following the instructions in the manual for pressure cooking.
  15. Serve as a side dish with your favorite style of barbecue food. IE: Barbecued Chicken, corn on the cob, and Texas garlic toast.
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  1. I am always a fan of all sorts of beans! This turned out really tasty and flavourful.

  2. Bill loves baked beans and these would be the perfect side dish for any of our grilled summer entrees! Can't wait to try them!

  3. This looks delicious Claudia and I've had a package of these beans for a couple of years just waiting for this recipe to come along.

  4. My grandmother used to make something similar when I was younger and I'm glad that I found this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is such a delicious recipe!

  6. Cowboy style beans are the best and this recipe is loaded with flavor!! Our favorite bean recipe!

  7. I'm never buying canned baked beans again!

  8. These remind me a lot fo the beans my mother's friend Betty used to make us years ago. Just thinking about them brings back a flood of memories - I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

  9. Saving this recipe for the next time I have to make something for a cookout! These would be a perfect side to burgers and brats.

  10. Always love a classic bean dish! This looks so savory; can't wait to make this for dinner tonight!

  11. So I noticed it says to add vinegar in the actual recipe but I don't see vinegar in the ingredients list. Am I missing something? How much vinegar should I add? What kind of vinegar?

    1. 2 tablespoons I use white vinegar but the original recipe calls for apple cider vinegar

  12. I have been searching for this recipe! I had this as a young bride at a family members home for 4th of July. It was so amazing the ingredients made a real impression on me. I lost the recipe - and never knew what it was called. Can't wait to make this for the family - what a great memory. thanks for posting.


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia