Down South Crock Pot Pinto Beans saved my life |For what it's worth

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Down South Crock Pot Pinto Beans saved my life

Pinto Beans saved my life.  I know it sounds strange but they did. My dad took a job that required moving the family from North Central Texas to the lower Texas panhandle when I was about 9 years old.  Getting started in his insurance business was slow going until he built a clientele.  That meant we ate what grew in a meager late fall garden and when winter hit  the only thing left in the pantry was beans because beans grow pretty dang well in a dry arid area.  Mom got pretty good at making them too. Dad was even better at seasoning them. 
 bowl of crock pot pinto beans

I still remember when dad walked through the front door after a day working, inhaled a deep breath and exclaimed excitedly, “Oh boy, BEANS!”  Of course it was a bit of a joke because that first winter we had beans every day for w.e.e.k.s.  Sometimes there was ham hocks and sometimes just beans and most of the time a bit of corn bread or biscuits.  Even our lunch bag had a jar of beans.  Just like Texans survived drought decades ago with black eyed peas, we survived our first winter in NW Texas on Pinto Beans!  It wasn’t until my adult years that I learned to appreciate beans again! 

Now when I cook beans it all starts by pouring a bag of dry pinto beans into a deep pan and cover with water.  Put on a lid or some plastic wrap and allow them to soak over night.  In the morning drain the beans in a colander and rinse with tap water.
 pinto beans soaking overnight

After you drain the overnight water and rinse, put them back in the pot and cover with fresh tap water.  Bring the water and beans to a roiling boil then transfer the beans into your crock pot. Add the spices and pork.  I leave my crock pot on high so the beans continue to cook at a low boil 2-4 hours until the beans are tender.  If your crock pot is boiling too high, reduce to medium heat. Just keep in mind, lower temp = longer cooking time.  Check on them occasionally so they don’t boil dry.  Add hot water if you need to.
  pinto beans slow boil

The best beans I make are with left over bone-in ham.  I just put the entire left over piece in the beans and let it cook for hours until the ham falls off the bone into the beans.  Serve in a bowl over a bed of rice and you have a hearty comforting dinner.  They freeze well too.

Bonus bean tip:  Mash some left over beans in a food processor or blender or even use a fork then add a little salsa for a great bean dip.

If you like this recipe, try some Texas Caviar (Black Eyed Pea Salsa).  We never start a new year without some.  Even my non B.E.P. eating friends love it.

Crock Pot Recipe - Down South Pinto Beans

serving of crock pot pinto beans
by FWIWJeannie
Ingredients (24 servings)
  • 2 pounds dry pinto beans
  • 4 teasponns chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 2-3 hamhocks
  • 1 pound or so of salt pork, chopped and browned
This recipe is for a large goup and can easily be reduced for smaller recipe.
Place dry beans in a large container and cover with water (about 4" above beans).
Allow to stand over night.
Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with fresh tap water.
Place soaked/rinsed beans in crock pot.
Cover beans with water.
Stir in all the seasonings and meat.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low boil in crock pot 2-4 hours till beans are tender.
Before serving remove bay leaves and pull meat from ham hock.  Discard bone and fat.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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Now, here's the real bonus - this recipe is part of a crock pot challenge and YOU are invited to see all the other entries!


  1. Beans cooked with a smoky ham hock are pure comfort food to me, but oddly enough, I've never made them in a slow cooker. I'm only a few ham hocks away from having these tomorrow!

  2. My son had a job at a farmers' co op, where they shipped beans, so I have bags of beans in my pantry! I'm always looking for ways to use them up.


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