Smoky Pinto Beans

Smokey Pinto Beans

Pinto beans: Very eco­nom­i­cal and an awe­some source of pro­tein and fiber. There is a rea­son beans and rice are a sta­ple food in so many coun­tries. Together they pro­vide a com­plete bal­ance of needed pro­teins. Choose brown rice (also cheap and deli­cious), and you’re even bet­ter off. I lean towards pick­ing foods for taste, with nutri­tion com­ing in sec­ond. It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t really over-think that aspect. I pre­fer to bal­ance and mod­er­ate so I can still enjoy what I cook. Which makes beans prac­ti­cally guilt-free food.

Pinto beans are so sim­ple to make. Just make sure you give your­self a lit­tle time to pre­pare and soak. These don’t require an over-night time frame, just 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

So ver­sa­tile in ways to pre­pare, these par­tic­u­lar beans are great. Use them as a side for Mex­i­can dishes, or smoked BBQ meats. The fla­vor of the beans is not over­shad­owed, only enhanced by the addi­tion of smoked ham and the min­i­mal sea­son­ings. Hit with a lit­tle bit of lime juice and cilantro right before serv­ing if you like.

Their sub­tle taste also makes them per­fect as an addi­tion to any bur­rito in place of refried beans.

Bonus: they freeze well.


Smoky Pinto Beans

makes 5–6 cups of beans

1 pound dry pinto beans

8 cups water

1/2 large onion-chopped

1 (14 1/2 oz.) can reduced sodium chicken broth

1 can water (assum­ing, of course, that you are using the chicken broth can…)

2 cloves of garlic-sliced, chopped, whatever…

4–6 oz. thick-cut bacon, ham hock, salt pork,  or left­over ham–my favorite is dou­ble smoked, thick-cut bacon



1/2 tea­spoon brown sugar

1/2 tea­spoon chili powder

1/2 tea­spoon cumin

1/2 tea­spoon dried oregano

1/8 tea­spoon cayenne pepper

Sort through dry pinto beans to remove any rocks and such.  Put into a large pot and cover with 8 cups water. There should be a cou­ple on inches cov­er­ing the beans.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 2 min­utes.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit  for 1 hour.

Drain and rinse.

Put back into your large pot and add: what­ever ham you’ve decided to use, the chopped onion, the chicken broth and can of water, and the garlic.

Sim­mer on medium-low heat with a tilted lid for 2–2 1/2 hours, or until ten­der.  Check the liq­uid often and add up to another 1/2 can water if needed.

When beans are as soft as you would like, take them off the heat and salt and pep­per to taste. Then add the remain­ing seasonings.

Stir and smash beans against the side of the pot until they are the con­sis­tancy you want. I like to leave most of them whole, just smash­ing enough to give it a thicker base.

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  1. Those look deli­cious. I love pinto beans and I love all the fla­vor­ings. I’m going to save this recipe to try later, maybe in the fall when it’s cool :)

  2. I have been crav­ing a dish like this all day but just couldn’t put my fin­ger on it. I’m mak­ing this first thing in the morning!

  3. I think we’ll be hav­ing this for din­ner tomor­row! Thanks for sharing!

  4. These would be a great base for que­sadil­las or meat­less burritos!!

  5. This sounds like a great recipe. Your pic­ture is very appealing!

  6. I made these yummy beans to go with the tasty taquitos and Span­ish rice from your web­site and my fam­ily LOVED them! I appre­ci­ate how you put recipes on your web­site that work well together.

  7. As a poor grad stu­dent, I live on beans. These look like some­thing I need to add to my fiber arsenal. :)


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