An easy, hearty and delicious dish, with pork shoulder, cooked low and slow, together with pinto beans, all in a baked bean-like sauce. Make this one in the oven or in a slow cooker.
While March may be the beginning of Spring for some, it’s just another month of Winter, for us. So comfort food season continues here, with this easy and hearty pot of Pork and Beans.
This dish is made easy with canned beans, cooked in a comforting and delicious baked bean-like sauce. It’s a great dish for getting the flavours of baked beans with pork, without all the work.
While this dish does need some time in the oven, to cook low and slow, the hands-on time is a short 10 minutes, so once it’s in the oven, you just need to check on it a couple of times. It’s a wonderful dish to cook on the weekend, when you can enjoy the lovely smells through the house.
And for those who love to use their slow cooker, I’ve included a slow-cooker version here as well.
Oven or Slow Cooker Pork and Beans
- 4 lb. pork shoulder roast, boneless
- Cooking oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 4 19 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed (560ml)
- 5 cup ketchup
- 5 cup brown sugar
- 5 cup fancy molasses, not cooking or blackstrap
- 3 tsp dry mustard
- 4 tsp salt
- 5 tsp pepper
- Prepare the pork by removing any string around the roast. Cut away any large bits of fat around the outside of the roast and discard. Season pork with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stirring well to combine. Set aside.
- For Oven Method: Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (for oven method) or heavy skillet (for slow cooker method), on the stove-top, over medium heat. Sear the pork well on all sides, then remove to a plate. If there is a lot of fat/liquid in the pot, remove all but 1 Tbsp. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Proceed with the instructions below, depending if you are doing the oven or slow-cooker method.
- Return pork to the pot with the onions (along with any juices on the plate). Pour the sauce over-top of the meat. Place cover on Dutch oven and place in preheated oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes of cooking, remove the pot from the oven and flip the meat over. Add 1/4 cup water to the pot. Replace the lid and place the pot back into the oven for another 45 minutes. Remove the pot again and flip the pork. Again, add 1/4 cup water to the pot. Replace the lid and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and check the pork. If it will split apart easily with a fork, it’s time to add the beans. If not, cover and return to the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes or until the pork is falling apart.
- Remove the pork to a plate (it may fall apart into large chunks, but that’s ok).
- Add the rinsed beans to the pot with the pork. Stir to combine the beans with the sauce. If you feel a little more liquid is needed, add a bit more water. Return the chunks of pork to the pot.
- Return the pot to the oven, UNCOVERED, and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, or a bit longer, if you’d like to really thicken it up.
Slow Cooker Method
Spoon the softened onions into the slow cooker and place the seared pork and any juices. Pour prepared sauce over-top of the pork. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 7 hours on low. If you like, you can flip the pork partway through cooking. Cook the pork to the point that it easily falls apart when pulled with a fork. At that point, remove the pork to a plate (it may fall apart into large chunks, but that’s ok).
Add the rinsed beans to the pot with the sauce. Stir to combine. If you feel a little is more liquid is needed, add a splash of water. Return the pork to the cooker. Continue cooking in the slow-cooker, UNCOVERED, until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes more.
For both the oven and slow cooker methods, if you feel you’d like to thicken the sauce a touch, mix together a slurry of 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water. Add to the sauce, a bit at a time, stirring and cooking, until the desired thickness is reached.
While I’ve provided a slow cooker version of this recipe, I do prefer the oven method, personally. I just love the way the pork and sauce cooks up in the oven. Unless you really want to do a slow cooker meal, go for the oven method.
I’ve found that pork shoulders can give off varying amounts of liquid as they cook, but I’ve tried to keep the added liquid to a minimum, to keep from watering down the sauce too much. So that said, for the oven method, keep an eye on the liquid level and add additional water at any time if you feel it is getting low (if it’s getting syrupy at any time, definitely add some water). For the slow-cooker version, I’ve specified just adding some water at the start, so you don’t have to check it as regularly.
Do taste your sauce at the end of cooking. As there is salt in the beans and in the sauce ingredients, you may not need to add additional salt … or you may. Taste and add some if necessary.
Depending on the cut of pork you started with, you may have some fat on the top of the dish when it’s finished cooking. You can spoon it off and discard (or use the edge of a paper towel and let it wick up onto the towel). Another option, if you are making it ahead, is to simply refrigerate it. Once cooled, the fat will solidify on the top and you can easily spoon it off and discard it before re-heating.
Be sure to read the “Ingredient and Cook’s Notes” (above the recipe card!), where I share more detailed tips, variations and substitution suggestions for this recipe!
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