Top View of Bourbon Baked Beans in a Cast Iron Skillet
Top View of Bourbon Baked Beans in a Cast Iron Skillet

Bourbon Baked Beans

Serves: 4 to 6

Great as a barbecue side or as dinner's main feature with a warm piece of cornbread, these slow-cooked baked beans are rich and creamy with a pleasant touch of smoke. And, of course there's bourbon in them! Maker's Mark® and ginger ale add a light sweetness that plays well against that tanginess. As if all that weren't enough, the beans are topped with a crisp, buttery crumble.

Prep time
60 minutes, or overnight
Cook time
1 hour 40 minutes
Total time
2 hours 40 minutes

What to get

  • 1 pound dried pinto or white beans
  • ¼ pound of bacon, cut into medium dice
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ¾ cup Homemade Maker's Mark® BBQ sauce
  • 6 oz (4 shots) Makers Mark® bourbon
  • 1 can of ginger ale
  • 4 cups pork or chicken stock
For topping to finish
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 3oz country ham, chopped

What to do

  1. Soak dried beans for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. While preheating oven to 325 degrees, brown bacon on the stove over medium heat in an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven.
  3. When almost crispy, add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Drain your beans and add to the bacon mixture.
  5. Add Maker's Mark® BBQ sauce, Maker's Mark® Bourbon and ginger ale. Mix well, and then add the pork or chicken stock.
  6. Cover pot, place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
  7. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes or until beans are tender and a crust has begun to form on top of the dish.
For the crumb topping
  1. Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add country ham and panko.
  2. Stir constantly until lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove beans from oven and top with the crumble before serving.
Notes from Chef Newman
Perfect pairing
Try an easy-to-make Maker's Mark® and ginger ale highball with this dish. Just pour 1 ½ parts Maker's in a highball glass with ice, top with ginger ale and garnish with lime.
Soaker saver
If you forgot to soak them last night, try quick soaking your beans. Just boil them in water and cover for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for an hour. Drain beans, discarding the water.
Taste five
Dried beans can be temperamental individuals that cook at different speeds – even within the same batch. When testing for doneness, sample a few at a time to get a better idea of how far along they are.
Maker's® BBQ Sauce
You'll find a ton of uses for this adaptable BBQ sauce and Star Hill Provisions favorite. Check out the recipe here.
Tips, tools & techniques
Some people enjoy crispy, caramelized baked beans. Others prefer a more soupy, saucy version. If you're in the former group, try cooking them a little longer with the lid off. You might also try placing them under the broiler after adding the crumble to get a nice bubbly, crunchy char going on top. If you're the saucy type, add additional liquid like stock or water during cooking. Beans will continue to absorb flavor over time, so storing the finished product overnight will add richness and thickness. Lastly, an additional splash of Maker's Mark® at the end really punches up the caramel flavor.