For years I have kept my pinto bean recipe in my pocket, and only shared it with a few select people, I even threatened one guy with a gun if it got out. Now in my old age I feel like I have gotten to the point where it is time to share the goodness…
J-BAR-H CHUCKWAGON BEANS
- 10 pounds pintos, picked over and rinsed
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- 5 big onions, cut into strips
- 1 green pepper, cut into strips
- 4 large jalapeños, seeded and cut into strips
- 8 whole garlic cloves
- 2 pounds brisket burnt ends
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1/4 cup kosher salt
- Coarse black pepper
- On a sheet pan, pour a pile of beans on the left side and slide them across a few at a time looking for rocks, dirt & broken beans- give them a good rinse
- Get your bacon sweating in a big boiling pot
- Get the pot pretty hot and throw in the veggies
- Cook them till they start getting some color then throw in the garlic cloves
- Add the tablespoon of salt and about 3/4 cup of coarse pepper (this salt is for the veggies, not the beans) cook for a few more minutes until a scab starts forming on the bottom of the pan,
- Pour in about a quart of water and work up that scab from the bottom until the bottom of the pan is clean and the liquid looks like pond water
- Pour in your beans and enough hot water to cover by about 4 inches
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a bubbling simmer for an hour
- Throw in a handful of salt (if you do it before this point the beans wont soften) and a couple pounds of brisket burnt ends. If you don’t know how to properly cook a brisket then add 6 or 8 ham hocks, but what will set your beans apart will be the deep smoky flavor you get into them
- Give it a good stir and let simmer uncovered for another few hours, keeping about 1 inch of water over the top- NO MORE- NO LESS,
- Start checking after about 2.5 hours to see if the beans are done. You don’t want them mushy and you don’t want even the slightest hint of a crunch or too firm of a texture.
- They are done when they are done.
- Pour off into a couple of shallow pans and chill overnight. This is an important step in the process! They will be creamy and awesome. As my favorite food-geek says “Your patience will be rewarded.
BONUS RECIPE: CHARRO BEANS
For Charro beans we take our awesome beans and pour some chicken broth into them, add some Rotel tomatoes, cumin, minced garlic, fresh finely chopped onions, cilantro and lime juice. NOTE: You gotta use real chicken broth, it makes all the difference in the world.
BONUS BONUS RECIPE: TEX-MEX REFRIED BEANS (NSFW)
For refried beans you kind of have to make them in batches. I use a big-ass braising pan (real wide, low sides) and warm it up over 2 burners. Get about a 1/4 pound of lard per batch melted up and hot in the pan. (Lard is a critical ingredient to great refried beans, and your local carniceria will have the freshest and best.) Since we used veggies in the beans you don’t need to add them here, but if you start with canned beans you need to dice up a couple. onions and cook until translucent. Strain the beans and reserve the liquid (from our good beans, toss that crap in the canned beans, rinse the shit out of them and use 50/50 water & chicken stock as your liquid.) Dump as many beans as you can get into the pan (including the veggies and meat) and while they are sizzling, mash the shit out of them. I use a stick blender to do the dirty work. Keep adding liquid to the pan while you work until you get a decent consistency, but not too fine. I think it should have the consistency of a good loose baby shit. This is managed by the liquid you add as you mash. Leave a decent amount of “mostly” mashed beans in so that people know you didn’t get it from a can. The smoky flavor and bits of jalapenos & onions will also tell them you went the distance.