Chefs' Recipes

Gregory Llewellyn's barbecue pit beans

The key to good barbecue pit beans is stuffing as much fat and pork as you possibly can into each dried bean.

By Gregory Llewellyn
  • Serves 6
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Barbecue pit beans
Check your fridge and throw any leftover barbecued meat into the pot as well, especially the burnt ends of brisket, then simmer for a good long time. Regular maple syrup will do just fine here - or you can smoke it, as we do. The beans will need to soak overnight, and the pork belly needs to cure in a spice mix overnight, so start preparing these the day before.
This dish is quite sweet. We recommend reducing the amount of sugar if you prefer a more savoury result.


  • 500 gm dried white beans
  • 125 gm lard
  • 250 gm thick-cut smoked bacon, diced
  • 24 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried chipotle chilli
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 250 gm dark brown sugar
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) pork or chicken stock
  • 500 ml (2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 200 ml maple syrup
  • 125 ml (½ cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 400 gm canned chopped Roma tomatoes
Pork belly
  • 250 gm pork belly, skin on
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • For drizzling: olive oil or vegetable oil


  • 1
    Place beans in a container that holds at least 2 litres. Pour in plenty of lukewarm water, then leave to rehydrate and soften for at least 12 hours.
  • 2
    For pork belly, season it liberally with sea salt. Pound the garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaf and lemon rind with a mortar and pestle, then rub thoroughly all over the pork belly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • 3
    Next day, preheat oven to 150C. Rinse pork, then place in a roasting pan with a splash of oil and roast for 2 hours. Leave to cool, cut into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, heat lard in a large saucepan. Add bacon and cook over medium heat until slightly brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden. Once the mixture is golden brown delicious, add onion and cook until golden brown (another 5-10 minutes). Now stir in all spices and cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Stir until all the lumps are dispersed, then add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add stock, tomato sauce, maple syrup, vinegar and tomato. Bring to a simmer and season to taste.
  • 5
    Drain beans and give them a quick rinse. Add to the sauce mixture along with the pork belly. Slowly simmer until the beans are soft (at least 2 hours; start checking after about 1½ hours). These beans are fantastic served with cornbread, smoked lamb ribs, fried chicken, or with toast for breakfast.


Note This recipe is from Fried Chicken & Friends ($49.99, hbk) by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart, published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.