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Kansas City Baked Beans

Courtesy Phil Johnson
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Ground spicy Italian pork sausage is my secret ingredient that people would never expect to find in baked beans. It adds a killer flavor and extra richness to the beans.

Technique tip: Do not overcook vegetables.

Swap option: Use smoked beef brisket instead of sausage.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground hot Italian pork sausage
  • 2 (20-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue rub or Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup molasses



Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.


Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft, adding a pinch of salt and pepper.


Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.


Crumble sausage into the veggies and cook, chopping to break the meat into small pieces, until the pink of the meat disappears.


Drain off some of the bean liquid in each can so that it's at the same height as the beans, then mix the contents of both cans into the cooked veggies and sausage. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add all the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.