Pork & Beans

Blackened pork butt and tender butter beans braised in a bourbon tomato broth. Served with buttermilk corn muffins.

When I think of pork and beans, I think about cans of small beans with a weird half gelatinous-half liquid sauce and what looks like small pieces of pork belly. Not the most enticing meal for sure! This recipe takes pork and beans back to its roots, with season chunks of pork, large tender beans, and a slightly spicy broth. Served with some homemade buttermilk corn muffins, it will change the way you think of pork and beans.

I started recreating this dish by enhancing some of the common elements. The pork, for instance, is usually a salted pork product, pork belly, or backfat. I wanted something more substantial and meaty, so I chose to use seasoned pork shoulder.

The beans are usually small white beans, like navy beans. Again, I wanted something substantial. Butter beans cook up tender and are large enough to stand up to the hunks of pork.

The sauce for this dish, as well as the original, is tomato-based. However, this sauce is enhanced with seasonings from the pork, onions, garlic, peppers, and bourbon. It is full of flavor with a little burst of spice at the end.

To finish this dish off, I made buttermilk corn muffins. The muffins are perfect for sopping up sauce and make this a truly southern-style pork and beans.

As you can see in the pictures, I made my muffins in a cast-iron muffin pan. Regular muffin pans will work just as well. If you are lucky enough to have a cast-iron pan, put the pan in the oven while it’s preheating. When the oven comes to temperature, remove the pan and pour 1/8 teaspoon of oil in each cup before filling with the cornmeal batter. The hot oil immediately starts cooking the crust, giving it a crisp exterior that is easy to remove after baking.

Pork & Beans

Course Dinner, Main Course
Total Time 1 day 2 hours
Servings 5



  • 2 pounds pork butt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano dry
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili flake

Pork and Beans

  • 1 1/2 cups dry butter beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup poblano diced
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 14.5 ounce diced tomato canned with juice
  • 1 tsp oregano dry
  • 3 sprig thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp chili flake
  • 2 tbsp oil

Corn Muffins

  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 tsp oil to oil cast iron pan if using.



  • Mix the dry ingredients together. Trim the fat from the pork and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with the dry mix, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Pork and Bean

  • Soak the beans overnight in the water.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the beans and set aside. Heat a large oven safe skillet with the oil over medium-medium high heat. Brown the pork in batches. Remove the pork from the pan. Add additional oil if needed. Add the onions and peppers to the pan. Cook until softened and slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the bourbon. Add the spices, chicken stock, tomatoes, beans, and pork to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and place on the stove. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with corn muffins.

Corn Muffins

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If using cast iron pan preheat the pan with the oil. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients. Divide the batter between 6 muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.


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