Howdy y’all, and thanks for stopping by the website! If you are looking for the best tasting beans I’ve ever made, you have come to the right place. Charro beans are a full meal, with four different types of meat and a whole lot of flavor.
Charro beans were originally made to feed a bunch of hungry cowboys after a long day of hard work. I have probably cooked several thousand pounds of beans in my life and this here recipe is by far the most flavorful. Grab you a stockpot and let’s get to it.
Prepare the Beans
People always ask if I rinse the beans and pick the rocks out of them. The truth is, I don’t. Any beans with rocks in them are going to sink to the bottom.
To Soak or Not to Soak?
If you are like me and you live close to sea level, you do not need to soak your beans. If you are above 5,000 feet or so, go ahead and soak the beans in cold water for a couple of hours before you start to cook.
Tip: In elevations above 2,800 feet, soak the beans in ice water for a couple of hours and the beans will cook in half the time.
How Much Water do I Use to Boil Beans?
Start by adding the rinsed beans into the stock pot. Pour water about 2 inches over the top of the beans and bring to a boil.
Tip: On another burner nearby, keep a pot of water hot, so when the water in the bean pot cooks down you can add more water in without lowering the temperature of the beans and slowing the cooking process down.
Season with our Mesquite Seasoning and dried cilantro. I prefer dried but you can use fresh cilantro if you have it on hand. Cook over medium high heat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare the Meat
Like I mentioned earlier, there are four different types of meat in Charro beans. Bacon, ham, hot dogs, and pork chorizo. Yes! In Mexico, hot dog is always in these beans. Traditionally, deli-sliced ham is what is used, but I prefer a ham steak.
Cook the bacon for a few minutes to render the bacon grease, and then add the rest of the meats all together. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the meat from the pan and add to the simmering bean pot.
The Final Flavor Kick
Melt the butter in the same pan. Add a diced white onion and jalapeno and cook until soft. Add the tomato, garlic, ancho, and guajillo chilies and let the flavors all cook together for a few minutes.
Tip: It’s the vegetables and chilies, sauteed in butter, that give Charro beans their unique flavor. If you generally don’t love the texture, after you cook these vegetables, puree them and add them like seasoning to the broth.
When the vegetables and chilies are tender and beginning to brown, that’s when you want to add them to the bean pot. You’re done now! Let simmer over medium high heat, put a lid on it and let it cook another 20-25 minutes, checking frequently in case they need some more water.
When done, add some pork rinds (Chicharrones) to add extra flavor. The chicharrones will work as a thickening agent and they will add so much delicious flavor.
If you want to get fancy, serve with a garnish of fresh cilantro, sour cream, and some pork rinds.
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Authentic Charro Beans - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 lbs. pinto beans
- 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
- 2 tablespoons Kent’s Mesquite seasoning or your favorite all-purpose seasoning
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon roughly chopped
- 1 12 ounce ham steak chopped
- 6 hot dogs chopped
- 9 oz pork chorizo
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 3 jalapenos seeded and diced
- 5 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 dried ancho chili crushed
- 1 dried cascabel chili crushed
- Pork rinds optional
- 1 cup Queso fresco plus more for topping
- In a large pot, cover the beans with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cilantro and Mesquite seasonings. Cook for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If needed, add more hot water, while cooking so the beans don’t dry out.
- The skins of the beans will crack when then turn the heat down to low.
- When the beans are nearly done, in a large cast iron skillet, add the bacon and cook until it is half done. Stir in the ham and hot dogs and cook for about 4, until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Crumble in chorizo and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the contents to the beans. Reduce the heat of the beans to medium-low.
- Return to the skillet and melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the jalapenos, tomatoes and dried chilies and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions soften. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the onion mixture to the beans and stir well. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crumble in a couple of handfuls of the pork rinds, if using, and cheese. then add the crumbled pork rinds and cheese and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool slightly and serve topped with Queso Fresco, if desired.