Cowboy beans are slow cooked and slightly sweet, a tad spicy, a little smoky, and 100% delicious! They are perfect alongside burgers, brisket, or ribs!
I haven't found cowboy beans on any menu here in North Carolina yet but you can definitely them in Texas and parts of the Southwest! They aren't baked beans, which are pretty sweet, and not like ranch style beans, which have a chili sauce flavor, but instead are a great blend of savory and sweet.
Traditionally, beef (often ground) is thrown in with the pinto beans but I loved this twist of using beef jerky instead! It softens up and gives loads of flavor and texture. And who doesn't love beef jerky? Coffee is always present, though you coffee haters would never know, and the beans end up in a thick, BBQ type sauce, thanks to the molasses and mustard.
Can't you see a group of cowboys whipping up a pot of these out on the trail?
1 lb dried pinto beans
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 ounces beef jerky, diced
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper
In a large Dutch oven, cover the beans with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Drain and rinse.
Preheat the oven to 250. Return the beans to the pot and add the onion and garlic. Cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the burner, cover, and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the beef jerky, coffee, molasses, mustard, and chili powder. Return to the oven, uncovered, and increase temperature to 350. Let cook until the beans are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduced, 1.5 to 2.5 hours. If the beans are still tough, add water to the pot to keep the beans from drying out and let it bake longer.
Once the beans are done, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.