Side dish

Barbecue baked black-eyed peas

barbecue baked black eyed peas DSC3619

Last Monday, which was also my birthday, I finished my second cookbook. It was the best present I could ever give myself. After I sent my manuscript to my editor, I then spent a week being lazy. With little rest and relaxation the past six months as I’ve raced towards my deadline, it felt good to have other people cook for me and do absolutely nothing. After a few days of this, however, I became restless and missed hanging out in my tiny kitchen. So back I went.

As I started poking around my shelves to see what I had left over after the recipe testing, I didn’t find much, though there was a bag of dried black-eyed peas. At first, I thought to myself, “I can’t do anything with these, they’re a January food.” But then I realized this was foolish thinking, as like most Texans I grew up eating black-eyed peas all year round.

When I was young, we ate black-eyed peas several times a week. Whether it was the summertime and they were freshly picked from my grandmother’s garden and needed nothing more than a dash of salt to shine, or whether it was the colder months and we took our dried black-eyed peas and slowly stewed them with aromatics and bacon—black-eyed peas were often on the table. And they were always good.

barbecue baked black-eyed peas | Homesick Texan

That said, for some reason when I moved to New York, I got it into my head that they should only be served on New Year’s Day, as that was the only time I could find them at the stores. Of course, they’re popular on January 1 as they’re one of those foods that’s supposed to bring you good fortune in the New Year. But their good flavor certainly shouldn’t be limited to this one day. A return to serving black-eyed peas year round was long overdue.

Like most folks, I’ll be attending a few backyard gatherings this summer. While in New York it’s rare to have outdoor space, I do have a few fortunate friends with yards and they’re always happy to share their limited patch of dirt and sunshine with those of us who are without. While at some point I would love to become more adept with a smoker and a grill, for now I’m happy to help out with the sides.

(That said, there are three books on Texas and barbecue—Robb Walsh’s Barbecue Crossroads, Tim Byers’ Smoke: New Firewood Cooking, and Daniel Vaughn’s The Prophets of Smoked Meat I look forward to reading in the next few weeks so I can further my barbecue education.)

So what could I make with my black-eyed peas that would be backyard-season appropriate? A quick flip through A Taste of Texas (which is sadly out of print) gave me my answer. There I spotted a recipe for barbecue baked lima beans, and while I didn’t have lima beans on hand, I figured that swapping black-eyed peas for lima beans would probably work.

This recipe veers more towards the savory and spicy side, so if you’re a fan of sugary baked beans, this might not be your thing. But I found that the liberal use of earthy chili powder, smoky bacon, and tangy vinegar and mustard makes for a flavorful pot of beans.

barbecue baked black-eyed peas | Homesick Texan

These go well with hamburgers, sausage, brisket, or even with just a hearty salad and cornbread. And while I’ll be serving them this summer, when January comes around in a few months and you’re craving black-eyed peas, there’s no reason why these barbecued black-eyed peas couldn’t make an appearance then, too. After all, black-eyed peas are welcome on the table any time of year.

barbecue baked black eyed peas DSC3619
4.5 from 4 votes

Barbecue baked black-eyed peas

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas or 3 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces thick-cut uncooked bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups bean liquid water


  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, rinse the peas and place in a large ovenproof pot. Cover with one inch of water and add the salt. Bring the pot to a boil, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer the pot covered for 1 hour and then remove the lid. Continue to simmer the peas until tender and soft (but not completely mushy), which can take anywhere from 30 more minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the age of the peas. (If the water gets too low, add a little more to the pot). When the peas are tender and soft, drain the peas reserving the cooking liquid. If using canned black-eyed peas, simply drain them, also reserving the liquid.

  2. To make the barbecue baked black-eyed peas, preheat the oven to 350°F. In the same pot that you cooked the peas, on medium-low heat, cook the chopped bacon while occasionally stirring just until some of the fat is rendered, but not crisp, about 3 minutes. You want it to be underdone. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spatula, and place on a paper-towel lined plate leaving the rendered fat in the pot. Leaving the pot heated on medium-low, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Turn off the heat.

  3. Pour the black-eyed peas into the pot. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, chili powder, cayenne, bacon, and 2 cups of the reserved bean liquid (if there’s not enough add water to make up the difference). Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, and add salt.

  4. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes covered. After this time, remove the lid and continue to cook uncovered for 30-45 more minutes or until the beans are your desired consistency (I like my beans a little on the dry side, but you may prefer yours soupier). Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer, any bean such as lima, pinto, black, or navy, would work well in this recipe, too.

  1. How do these compare to your Ranch Style recipe?

  2. Lisa Fain

    Sarah–Those are soupier and have more of a pure chile flavor, I think. These are thicker, tangier, and a bit smokier and meatier, as there's bacon.

  3. Anonymous

    Are you referring to the cookbook A Taste of Texas edited by Jane Trahey? For some reason I am thinking of a coffee table book that has to have another name, but for the life of me I can't think of it. My brain is wanting to call IT "A Taste of Texas."

  4. Anonymous

    I just remembered the name of the cookbooks, "Texas the Beautiful Cookbook." Same question still stands, are you referring to the Jane Trahey book?

  5. Lisa Fain

    Julie–Thank you! Glad you liked it!

    Anon–Yes, I am referring to the Jane Trahey book. Do you have it?

  6. Lisa Fain

    Anon–Yes, I believe our comments must have passed each other in the ether! And I also know "Texas the Beautiful" but I don't own it.

  7. I am so excited for your second book! I adore your first and use it frequently, even though I'm incapable of being a homesick Texan, as I live outside of San Antonio. Your green Ninfa's-style salsa is something I make weekly, and gets rave reviews when I take it anywhere. Anxiously awaiting #2! Congratulations!

  8. Julie @ Texan New Yorker

    Wow, I never, ever thought to make barbecue baked beans with black-eyed peas, but it sounds wonderful! And congratulations on getting your second cookbook in to your editor. I can't wait to see it when it's published – I love your first one!
    Speaking of which, I recently made your recipe for Texas Caviar and blogged it today. It was so delicious! 🙂

  9. Happy belated birthday! Excited to hear about your second cookbook. I made your biscuits this weekend. They are especially yummy with strawberry syrup!

  10. Dan from Platter Talk

    Love this post. Just yesterday I made a batch of baked beans, a northern version of your recipe and a standard with which I grew up. The leftovers this evening were just as tasty as when they came out of the oven yesterday. With the after-bliss of our delicious meal and your timely post, it's baked black eyed peas for me, next!

  11. anotherfoodieblogger

    Happy Belated Birthday Lisa! I have a bag of dried black-eyed peas in my pantry that I just HAVE to make this with. That is, after I get back from a family reunion in Texas next week! I'll be hitting up Houston, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Austin, and Wimberley in my travels. I haven't been back in four years and I'm HOMESICK!

  12. Anonymous

    Wow, I never, ever thought to make barbecue baked beans with black-eyed peas, but it sounds wonderful! And congratulations on getting your second cookbook in to your editor. I can't wait to see it when it's published – I love your first one!

  13. Love your first book so I cannot wait for your new one!i get rave reviews when i serve your ribs!

  14. Happy Birthday and Congratulations on the 2nd cookbook! I heart beans, these look amazing!

  15. Happy Belated Birthday! And Happy Birth-day to the Manuscript. Can't wait for the book.

  16. Lisa Fain

    Stacey–Thank you! I also make that salsa almost every week. And it's always the first thing to go at parties.

    Mitzi–I've never had them with strawberry syrup–I'll have to try that!

    Dan–I think that baked beans are one of those dishes that are even better the next day.

    Anotherfoodieblogger–Hurrah! I'm so glad you're getting to go home for your family reunion. Have a terrific trip!

  17. Lisa Fain

    Anon–Thank you! It should be out next spring. I'll make an announcement when we get closer to publication.

    Winnie–Thank you! And it's been too long since I made those ribs–they're perfect for summer.

    Sheila–If you're a fan of beans, you should enjoy these, too.

    Kelly–Gracias, mi amiga!

  18. Anonymous

    Anyone tried these in a crockpot? Anything to avoid turning on the oven during the upcoming July and August!

  19. I've never put my pot in the oven, how do I know if I can do that without warping it? Could I just use my cast iron skillet?

  20. Richard Jernigan

    I donated a pint of blood a couple of days ago and they gave me my cholesterol results. Yikes! An all-time record of 275! So a big ol' pot of these black eyed peas (sans the bacon – sorry, Lisa, but I want to spin around the sun a few more times) is a perfect and yum-filled addition to my diet the next few weeks. Thanks, Lisa!

  21. Liz Summers

    First, congratulations on the book and Happy, Happy Birthday!

    This recipe was just what I was looking for. I've been trying to duplicate a dish of mixed beans in a spicy sauce from a Hungarian restaurant of my childhood. I saw this and made it with minor modifications: no Worcestershire, added some smoked paprika and some white balsamic. I used a mix of Rancho Gordo Heirloom Christmas Limas, Cassoulet, and Brown Tepary. Followed your method exactly and am so pleased. Thank you!

    ***I also added a drizzle of a cilantro-jalapeno-green onion vinaigrette I've been making and a dollop of sour cream.

  22. Amy | Minimally Invasive

    Congratulations on your second cookbook and a belated happy birthday!

    I've been making a dish similar to these beans since last summer, when I wanted something a little bit different to go with BBQ. I know it's not something you can easily do in the city, but barbecued baked black-eyed peas are great cooked in the smoker under a big ol' pork shoulder!

  23. Oh, just made this with some chorizo from a nearby organic farm since I had no bacon. Awesome! Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Lisa — As another displaced Texan getting ready to DRIVE from Boston to Waco next week, thanks for reminding me about the treasures that await. I've been thinking of growing black-eyed peas when I get back, and I need all the recipes I can conjure to deal with them–assuming I get them to grow! Looking forward to your next book.

  25. I don't do barbecue, sadly, but–sudden thought: why are the eyes black?

  26. Barbara

    Hi Lisa! Just got your cookbook for my gr-niece. I read it cover to cover and love it! Thanks for info on re-hyd anchos; now I know why my sauces have been so bitter!!! I immediately made the gas station pork tacos, jalapeno relish and pickled jalapenos. SO GOOD!! Refrieds are next and the Calabacitas looks amazing!

    I guess I'll have to buy another cookbook for my niece's birthday!! She's gonna love it.

    Thanks again!

  27. Anonymous

    Is there any reason this can't be prepared in a slow cooker? Maybe just cook the bacon first and then add everything into the slow cooker???

  28. Anonymous

    I made this for my group's pot luck today and three people asked me for the recipe. I think that means it was a success. I sent them all here.


  29. Anna//

    Hi Lisa,

    Do you think it would be possible to do these in the slow cooker? Thanks!

    (And so excited for your second cookbook, congratulations!)


  30. Lisa Fain

    Anna–Thank you for the congratulations! And yes, I believe you could make these in the a slow cooker. Unfortunately, I do not own one so I can't be too specific, but I think it would be the same method as any other baked bean recipe made with a slow cooker. Hope that helps!

  31. J.Joseph

    This recipe is outstanding. Have made it with black eyed bean and kidney and both are delicious. I did tweak the recipe a tad by using half the cider vinegar as I found it just a little too strong with the 1/4 cup. Yum!

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