Slow Cooked Cowboy Beans with Bacon and Chorizo

So according to wikipedia:

Cowboy Beans:

Cowboy beans (also known as chuckwagon beans) is a bean dish popular in the southwestern United States. The dish consists of pinto beans[1] and ground beef in a sweet and tangy sauce. Other types of meat can be used.[2] The flavor is similar to baked beans but with a southwestern twist. Although cowboy appears in the name, the use of canned beans, ketchup, and barbecue sauce means the dish is unlike anything ranch hands would have eaten. Cowboy beans are served stewed or baked,[3] depending on the recipe.

These were something I discovered whilst riding Route 66 (yep I did that… and it was amazing!). Rather than relying on a specific recipe, I decided to try and just eyeball it… and the results were amazing! Fortunately I noted down the ingredients I used, so I’m pleased to present you all with my Slow Cooked Cowboy Beans.

Please, if you try this recipe out, comment below with your thoughts and feedback.


  • 2 medium onions
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 5 rashers of the best smoked bacon you can find
  • 2 x chorizo sausages
  • 1 x green capsicum
  • 2 x 400g cans of red kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 x 400g cans of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups of homemade barbecue sauce (recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


Remember the real hero of this dish is the beans – everything else provides the flavour and adds to the beautifully rich sauce. Chop the onion and capsicum as finely as you possibly can. Cut the bacon and chorizo into small pieces (around 1cm).

Fry the bacon and chorizo over a medium heat until cooked (the chorizo will be crisping up nicely on the edges). Place into the slow cooker.

In the same pan (don’t wash it! you wan’t the flavour) cook the onion and mince until the beef is browned through.

Add the onion, mince, drained beans, capsicum ketchup and BBQ Sauce to the slow cooker and stir everything together until well mixed.

Turn the slow cooker on low, and cook for around 6 hours. Be sure to give it a stir every hour or so to ensure all the flavours are mixing and things are cooking evenly.

I didn’t add any heat to these, and whilst they don’t need it, a teaspoon of chilli powder would really bring things to life.

You can serve it with whatever you like, but I used it as a side (along with some slaw) with some slow cooked St Louis ribs (post coming soon on these).

Got leftovers? no problem… get hold of some grated cheese and tortillas, make cowboy bean burritos and toast them in a sandwich press!


Photo courtesy of Melanie Mauer


self confessed geek - user experience costumier - photography aficionado - low n slow cooker

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