A simple and hearty Dutch oven side dish

Killer Beans

Killer Beans
Killer Beans

Start with a 14-inch Dutch oven. Place 14 coals on top and 20 coals below.

1 lb. peppered bacon (regular bacon or pork shoulder trimmings work, too)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 gallon Bush’s Baked Beans (or your favorite brand)
2 cans dark-red kidney beans (15 oz.)
2 cans black beans (15 oz.)
1 cup mustard 2 cups barbecue sauce (your favorite)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed tight
2 tbsps. barbecue spices (your favorite)
1 tbsp. hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tbsp. mesquite-flavored liquid smoke
1 bottle hot-pepper sauce (4 oz. bottle of Tabasco or similar)
Chop bacon into small pieces and fry in Dutch oven. After a few minutes, add diced peppers and onions and cook until onions start to become translucent. Add all other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil (add more coals below oven if necessary or use camp stove).
Add or subtract coals to keep beans at a simmer for 2 to 2½ hours. Stir frequently.
Remove the lid for the final 45 minutes so sauce will thicken.
Serves: 30 to 40 people
H. Kent Rappleye is past president of the International Dutch Oven Society.


  1. I made the KILLER BEANS for our last Roundtable which included Dutch Oven Cooking as a part of a Pot Luck. I got a lot of positive comments, so thanks for sharing the recipe. I copied the article and placed it next to the Dutch Oven while serving them…. THANKS AGAIN… A real keeper recipe.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it George. Try using Tapatio or Louisiana hot sauce and I think you will really like the flavor difference.

  2. This recipe called for way too much hot pepper sauce. I used it at our last camp out and it was a huge failure.
    The recipe was too hot for the kids to eat. A lot of the dads enjoyed it but it was meant for our cubs.
    If I were to rewrite the recipe it would have more bacon and no pepper sauce so all of the kids could enjoy it.
    The peppers should be fire roasted and the onion should be sautéed. The bacon should be precooked for more texture to the dish.
    Salt should be included in the recipe or soy sauce like I used. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not writing that the recipe is bad, I am just making a suggestion that it should be less spicy so the kids can eat it. Thanks though. I thought it was pretty tasty.

  3. I modified this for a home cookout by reducing the quantities by half. I also cut back on the hot sauce. It turned out great. I’m making it for the Old Goats at a campout this weekend.

  4. Simon,
    I am sorry your Cubs got the full effect of the hot sauce. Unfortunately, because of space limitations, the only recommended hot sauce printed in the article was Tabasco. The original recipe states it this way: “1 (4oz.) bottle hot pepper sauce (your favorite: Tabasco®, Louisiana®, Tapatio®, etc. Adjust the amount to add or delete based on the sensitivity of palates in your group.) My personal favorite is Tapatio, followed by Louisiana. I only use Tabasco when I can’t find the others. Sorry you had a bad experience, but in reality, that is why they are called “Killer” beans.

  5. My family loves this recipe! My husband has been making this recipe since he found it in the scouting magazine years ago. It has become a tradition at family get-togethers. Thank you so much for sharing!

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