Cowboy Beans

If I was rewriting the lyrics to “I’d Like To Give The World A Coke”, I’m pretty sure it would go something like this:

I’d like to give the world a good, solid, go-to bean recipe.
Soaked overnight, seasoned and flavored.
And, of course, spiced up with a few fresh chiles.
That’s the real thing.

Can’t you just hear it in your head? I can.

The thing about beans, especially for someone who finds herself reaching for meat less and less, is that there is so much you can do with them, and they add so much substance to a meal.

Of course, when it’s time to get your bean on you can keep cracking open cans, but the texture and flavor is just so much better when you make your own from dried.

And it’s not hard! Truly. I’ll talk you through it.

There are basically two phases to scratch beans:  picking over and soaking, then seasoning and boiling. Just that simple. And while you do need to soak overnight and boil for a few hours, these processes take little to no attention from you as they unfold.

Go take a nap! Go make a tweet! Go finish the lyrics to ‘I’d like To Give The World A Good, Solid, Go-To Bean Recipe’! And come out on the other side with a luscious, steaming pot of frijoles charros. What could be better than that?

Nada, my friend. Just nada.

Cowboy Beans

10 c. pinto beans, dried
approximately 10 c. water for boiling, plus more for soaking
3 pork hocks
6 jalapeños, stemmed, halved
6 bay leaves

Spread out and pick through the beans, removing any dirt, stones, or overly damaged beans. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water to a depth of 1 – 2″. Soak overnight.

Remove soaked beans to a large Dutch oven and cover with water, again to a depth of 1 – 2″. Stir in pork hocks, jalapeños and bay leaves, and bring to an active, rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer/low boil and cover. Cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring several times as the beans cook. You may need to skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the water as the beans cook. Once the beans are finished, remove the bay leaves, pork hocks and jalapeños, which will have softened substantially. You can discard the bay leaves and discard or retain the pork hocks for future dishes. Dice the jalapeños and set aside.

Meanwhile, drain the beans and stir in the jalapeño pieces. Serve or store for up to 2 weeks refrigerated in a covered container.

YIELD:  approximately 30 cups of cooked beans


  1. 14


    Perfect timing, I was just reading a book that mentioned cowboy beans over and over again. This looks like a great recipe. I might actually attempt to use real beans instead of cans.

  2. 11

    Sherisse says

    Looks like an excellent recipe. If you don’t like boiling the beans or soaking them, pressure cooking them works quite nicely. A small size bean is done start-to-finish in 10 minutes or so. You can also pressure cook the hocks to ensure that delicious flavor is there!! Yummy :)

  3. 10

    Kaede says

    Did you mean 10 cups of dried beans? In my experience 10 cups of dried beans will swell up to be about 30 cups of cooked beans.

    • Meagan says

      Thanks for catching that, Kaede! The final yield measurement was off – I’ve since adjusted. Have a great day!

  4. 4


    Those look strikingly like the beans a friend of mine from Texas makes–high praise! I agree–beans from scratch are one of the best foods you can make. Plus, they’re super comforting to have bubbling away on the stove while you putter around the house on the weekend. :)

  5. 3


    I have been making beans “from scratch” in my crockpot for more years than I care to think about it. No soaking required. I was taught be a cook at a Fonda in Mexico who would set them up when she left for the night…so to have fresh beans for her breakfast customers.

    Just put clean beans in the pot, fill it with water to about an inch before the top, throw in a goodly amount of salt (yes…SALT) and an even goodlier amount of black pepper. Cook it on low for 9 hours or on high for about 4…or until as soft as you want them. Seriously, Seriously easy.

  6. 2


    Perfect timing as with all the bbqs happening recently, I would be so happy to have beans made from scratch. Especially that the recipe makes 10 cups! Love it! Thanks, Scarletta!

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