Happy Camper Chuck Wagon Beans

Chuck Wagon Beans Easy Recipe Camping

We recently camped with our neighbors at The Dunes State Park.

Beautiful scenery. Great friends. Good times. Sweet memories.  

However, contrary to the belief, campers are not  “Happy Campersat every waking moment.  It sometimes takes an extra measure of patience when you’re away from home and in the elements for both kids and parents alike. Nevertheless, these Chuck Wagon Beans always bring us back to happy.  They are sweet and tangy, hearty, and just the dose of happy that every camper needs.

happy camper kids

My mom {who’s extremely happy but not a camper} has been making these for years, and they are always a requested recipe.  It’s like a meal in a bowl. This recipe is great for cookouts and pitch-ins too – you can easily make it ahead of time and warm up over the fire or in a slow cooker. 


Happy Camper Chuck Wagon Beans


  • 1 pound of hamburger (cooked and drained)
  • 6 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans of pork & beans
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of kidney beans
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of butter beans
  • 1-2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce (optional)


1. Cook the hamburger and bacon separately and drain the grease.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the hamburger, bacon, and onion.

3. Add the onion, sugars, mustard, ketchup, vinegar, and salt until well blended.

4. Add the varieties of beans to the hamburger mixture.

5. Add your favorite barbeque sauce to your taste. (Optional)

6. Serve with your favorite campfire/cookout fixin’s.


What’s YOUR favorite campfire food?


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11 thoughts on "Happy Camper Chuck Wagon Beans"

  1. Crystal says:

    Smores, of course!

  2. Mom says:

    These are very good. We made these the other day after enjoying the one’s Jen made for the 4th of July. Yummy!

  3. Julie says:

    What are butter beans?

      1. Julie says:

        Thank you!!! My grocery store doesn’t carry them, but I now know what to look for.

  4. Gail says:

    I have a similar recipe, and it also is the most requested recipe for me to make. The only difference is I use 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup real maple syrup instead of 3/4 cup brown sugar (along with the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar). I have never used vinegar, but I think I will add that the next time for a little tang! Thanks for the great recipe.

    We camp with a group of people and I like to make cowboy caviar (a black bean and corn salad) with Frito scoops as an appetizer. Because the dressing is oil and vinegar, you don’t have to worry about it if it is warm outside.

  5. Kelly Scott says:

    I just wanna say those boys are DARLING! U r sooooo blessed…

  6. Amber says:

    Just made these beans last evening for a family gathering! Everyone loved them, and they went back for seconds! Thank you so much 🙂

  7. Lucas says:

    I’ve been using light brown sugar and everyone seems to love these beans. Do you think if I switch to dark brown sugar that they would be better or should I leave it the way it is if everyone likes them. I have also been draining all the bean cans to try and make them so they aren’t quite as runny.

  8. Jan says:

    Do you drain the beans?

  9. Jan says:

    Do you drain the cans of beans?

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