How to Cook Baked Beans in the Can

How to Cook Baked Beans in the Can

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You can buy just about any type of beans you want in a can these days. In addition to the standard pork and beans, you can get barbecue beans, beanie weenies, vegetarian beans, pinto beans, black beans and dozens of other varieties and brands. Best of all, especially if you're going camping, they come equipped with their own cooker. With just an open fire, a stick, a can of beans, a piece of wire and your three most basic survival tools, you can have a hot, satisfying meal in no time.

Items you will need

  • Campfire

  • Stick, 3 feet long, 1/2 inch or thicker

  • Can of beans

  • Pocket knife or ice pick

  • Can opener

  • Spoon

  • Piece of light, stiff wire, 12 inches long

  • Potholder

Build a campfire. Make it small enough so you can sit comfortably within two feet of the flames. Anything larger wastes fuel and will burn your supper.

Remove the top of the can with the can opener.

Poke a small hole with the tip of your knife into opposite sides of the can 1/4 inch from the top. The holes need only be large enough for the tip of the wire to go through.

Bend the ends of the wire double into a hook shape and hook the ends through the holes in the sides of the can to create a bale or handle. The whole assembly is called a tin can billy.

Carve a notch in one end of the stick. Hang the billy from the stick and dangle it over the fire. You can also drive a couple of long, forked sticks in the ground and lay the stick between them over the fire to act as a cooking spit, with the billy dangling from it over the fire.

Pull the can off the fire every minute or two and stir the beans to keep them from burning. Resist the urge to put the can too close to fire to hurry the process. The thin metal of the can transmits heat quickly and burns easily. It's better to heat the can over coals rather than a flame.


  • Use a pot holder to handle the hot can. Remember the wire bale gets very hot, so don't grab it.


  • Hang on to the can afterward. It can be used for cooking other things. You can even stick a potato inside and set it down in hot coals to bake. The handle makes it easy to get your cooking over the fire without burning your hands.
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