Whenever my buddies get together for deer camp, it’s just understood that Keith is going to make a pot of these beans. We’ve even started referring to the recipe as Keith’s beans when someone else makes them. We serve them as a side dish at our camps, but packed full of ground venison and sliced smoked sausage, they are hearty enough to be a full meal.
You can cook these beans in a Dutch oven over the campfire, or you can slow smoke them in your Traeger grill. Since we almost always have meat on the Traeger, that’s what we normally do. Slow simmer the beans on the grill for 3 to 4 hours at 225 to 250 degrees. Dutch ovens or disposable aluminum pans are perfect.
When we make this recipe for the grill, we brown the ground venison along with the onion and diced bell peppers in a large skillet before adding to the beans. When we cook in a Dutch oven over the fire, we brown the venison, onions, and peppers directly in the pot, then add the beans to it. You can use straight ground venison for this one, but I like to use an 80-20 blend of venison and pork fat to add an extra bit of flavor and help cook the peppers and onions.
Using canned baked beans speeds the process. If you have plenty of time, you can make your own baked beans starting with dried navy beans, but the canned version cuts down on kitchen time at camp.
Three 28-ounce cans Bush’s Baked Beans (or your favorite brand)
One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound ground venison, browned
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup jarred jalapeño peppers, chopped, with 1/2 cup of liquid from the jar
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Sriracha or other hot sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Start by browning the ground venison along with the bacon, chopped onion, and bell pepper. Dice the smoked sausage into bite-sized pieces.
Once the meat and vegetables have just cooked through, add them to a pan with the baked beans and remaining ingredients. Simmer the beans in a Dutch oven on the grill or over a fire, or in an aluminum pan in your Traeger grill for 3 to 4 hours.
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