This pork and bean stew combines two of my favorite things: pulled pork and baked beans. It’s a bowl of everything I’m looking for when I go to a great BBQ restaurant. The tender, easily pull-able pork melts into a sweet and slightly spicy pool of baked beans.
♥ Related: BBQ Chicken & Peach Salad
I was worried that the stew would just be too cloyingly sweet, but using a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce and some crushed tomatoes balanced out this stew so the sweetness of the BBQ sauce doesn’t overpower the dish. If you want to make this but don’t have a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce on hand, check out the notes in the recipe for some other ideas on how to achieve balance in the stew.
This is a dish that requires a bit of time, but most of that time is hands off. You will need to soak the dried beans for at least 4 hours, but 8 would be better. And the stew will take an hour to an hour and a half to cook so both the beans and pork are tender. But this dish is 100% worth a little planning. It’s a perfect weekend supper that will fill your house with the most intoxicating scent.
♥ Related: Kielbasa Soup with Kale & Beans
It’s possible this would work in either a slow cooker or Instant Pot, but I haven’t tried yet. I will test this at some point and update the recipe with those instructions. My best guess from prior recipes is that this would require about 45-minutes of pressure cooking in the Instant Pot and about 8-hours on low in a slow cooker.
BBQ Pork & Bean Stew | Pulled Pork + Baked Beans = YUM!
BBQ Pork & Bean Stew
- 8 oz dried pinto beans
- ¼ cup BBQ spice rub store bought or see recipe below
- 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
- ½ large onion diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1 large carrot diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1 stalk celery diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup sweet & spicy BBQ sauce see notes below
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- kosher salt to taste
BBQ Spice Rub
- 6 tbsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
- 1 ½ tbsp smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 ½ tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Pour beans into a large container and cover with water by a few inches. Let soak for 4-8 hours. Drain.
- Evenly sprinkle the chunks of pork with BBQ rub so it's well-coated on all sides. Let the pork marinate in the rub while you're preparing the rest of your ingredients.
- Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once the pot is warmed up, add bacon fat or vegetable oil. Sear the pork chunks on all sides until well browned and remove from pan onto a plate. Do this in 2-3 batches so you don't crowd the pan and bring down the temperature.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and a large pinch of salt, about 1 tsp. Let the vegetables cook until they start to get soft and the onion becomes translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until some of the excess water from the tomatoes cooks off and the tomatoes become thicker and slightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, BBQ sauce, beans, and seared pork along with any juices from the plate. Bring the pot up to a boil. Stir. Reduce to a light simmer. Cover. Cook until the beans are tender and the pork is falling apart. This will take at least an hour and up to an hour and a half depending on your beans.
- Once the beans are tender and the pork is falling apart, use a spoon or potato masher to mash a bit of the mixture. Mash some beans to help thicken the stew and break apart the larger pieces of pork. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the stew thickens slightly. Then serve.
- Any light colored or white bean would work here.
- The BBQ spice rub recipe here will make more than you need, but it’s great to have on hand. I like to use this to rub on to chicken breast and grill for a quick BBQ rubbed chicken to use on salad (like this BBQ chicken & peach salad.)
- I always save the bacon fat whenever we cook bacon. This lasts practically forever in an airtight container in the fridge. If you don’t have any on hand, but want the smoky flavor the bacon fat imparts, just cook a slice of bacon in the pot that you’re going to cook the stew in. Remove when the fat has been rendered. Enjoy the bacon as a chef’s snack.
- Make sure you use a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce here. The stew needs the spiciness to offset the sweet. If you want to make this but don’t have a spicy BBQ sauce on hand, add some spice. Use a finely diced jalapeno and cook with the vegetables. Or add a finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with the BBQ sauce.
- The beans can take up to an hour and a half to cook depending on how long you soaked them and the age of the beans. Older beans will take longer to soften. Don’t fret. Use the beans as your guide to when the stew is done. Pro-tip, taste a few beans before you decide the stew is done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a pot because I tasted one bean and it was soft while the majority of beans were not!
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