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Mid-19th century bean dishes were made with dried beans, often pinto. These required hours of soaking before they could be cooked. 

"According to J. Frank Dobie in Up the Trail From Texas, the chuck wagon, the travelling commissary from which the trail-driving cowboys and horse wranglers were fed, appeared to be a good many years after the first post-Civil War drives....The chuck wagon itself evolved from the cart, sometimes driven by oxen, which carried the personal gear of the crew and the trail boss, and a few pots of beans cooked on the overnight stops...On the drives, the cook hurried the chuck wagon forward past the slow-moving cattle to set up at the next planned stopping place and have food ready for the drivers when they arrived. He needed a good head start to give him time to bake the omnipresent red Mexican beans ("prairie strawberries," the cowboys called them)."

Beefy Beans


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (16 ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Heinz 57® sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Beefy Beans Image

In large skillet, cook the ground beef, onion and bell pepper over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.  Break up the beef into 1-inch crumbles and pour off the drippings.