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Cowboy Beans - Slow food as comfort food. Easy to make and freezes well. Ideal side dish for BBQ, Fried Chicken or Mexican food.

Frijoles Charros or Cowboy Beans

This dish can easily stand on its own as a main course or as a complement to a meat dish. If you eat this dish as a main course, I suggest serving warm tortillas, butter, and sea salt. Top the beans with fresh diced avocado, queso fresco, pickled onions, and of course, enjoy with an ice-cold beer such as Shiner Bock or Dos Equis. If you have any leftovers, these beans freeze well for up to 4 months.
Course Side Dish or Main
Cuisine Mexican/Cowboy
Keyword Cowboy Beans, Pinto Beans
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author David of Sunset & Sewanee


  • large pot with lid
  • mixing bowls
  • broiler safe pan
  • chef knife
  • cutting board
  • measuring cups and spoons


  • cups Pinto's, dried
  • ½ cup bacon renderings takes about 1 lb of bacon to make 1/2 cup of renderings
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Garlic clove minced
  • 2 whole Jalapeño roasted, peeled (may substitute fresh poblano)
  • ½ cup Hatch, chile green roasted and peeled or Joe Parker chile
  • 2 whole Tomato plum, halved, charred cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Avocado oil or canola oil or canola oil
  • ½ cup Cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp Southwest Seasoning
  • 1 12 oz Shiner Bock (Dos Equis Amber beer or your favorite medium-dark beer)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Brisket, smoked or Smoked Pulled Pork


Prep the Pintos

  • Before cooking beans, rinse and clean dried beans, discard any stones, wood, or foreign objects.

Soak Overnight

  • Once you have filled a pot with the beans, cover with 2-3 inches of cold water, pick out any floaters and discard. Cover and let rest overnight in a cold dark place. The beans will absorb the water overnight and expand to double their size.

Prep the Tomato and Chilies

  • Slice plum tomatoes in half. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss the halved tomatoes and jalapeños in oil.
  • Next, place the plum tomatoes sliced side down and the whole jalapeños on a broiler-safe tray.
  • Char vegetables under (500°F- 260°C) broiler. The tomatoes will cook first, removed if needed. Turn the chiles to blacken both sides before attempting to scrape off the skins.

Start the Cook

  • Begin by cooking off 1 lb of bacon. Set bacon aside and collect renderings in a cup. Reserve
  • Using a heavy-bottomed pot, preheat the bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Next, add diced white onion to the renderings once hot. Stir the onions and bacon fat to incorporate. Sauté onions until just translucent.
  • Cut the tops off the prepared jalapenos and add them to the onions.
  • Finally, add the beans to the onions and peppers and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Cover with a heavy lid and bring to a boil.
  • Once the beans are boiling, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to simmer. Cook the beans like this for 1½ hours. During which time, some of the water will have evaporated. Add one full beer and enough water to cover the beans again by 1 inch to correct this. Stir to loosen the beans. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover again with a heavy lid—Cook for another 1½ hours.
    (Caution: Every stove is different, so you will want to keep an eye on the level of liquid. Higher heat can make the beans boil themselves dry. If the broth of the beans goes below the surface of the top layer of beans, add enough water to cover them again.)
  • Chop the seared tomatoes, chopped ½ cup Hatch green chilies, reserve three tbsp of fresh chopped cilantro for garnish.
  • Chop ½ cup of smoked brisket or smoked pulled pork. If you don't have these, you can chop the bacon you used to make ½ cup of bacon renderings.
  • When you sample the beans and find them to be very tender, go ahead and add the tomato and the rest of the seasonings (Southwest Seasoning).


  • Garnish with fresh diced avocado, queso fresco, pickled onions, fresh cilantro, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce.