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Monday, July 7, 2014

How to make the Best Texas Pinto Beans with Ham Hock Recipe

This Texas Pinto Beans with Ham Hock Recipe is one we finally put down on paper a few years ago.  As in most kitchens across the country, these recipes are passed down and the measurement of ingredients was not a hard fast rule, it was kinda up to the cook's taste buds on that given day. 

Pinto Beans and Ham Hock Recipe

We grew up eating pinto beans at almost every meal.  Other than breakfast, our menu was always pinto beans with ham hocks, fried tators, (not to be confused with french fries) macaroni and canned tomatoes with a big cast iron skillet of cornbread.  

A pot of beans was always a staple at our house growing up, I really don't remember when mama didn't have a pot of beans on the stove.    Mama used ham hocks in her pinto beans, I'm sure because ham hocks were cheap and money was tight when I was a kid.   And mama didn't call these Texas Pinto Beans nor did she consider using ham hocks a special ingredient in her recipe, I think it was her way of giving us a little extra protein.

After I left home, it was years and years before I could eat pinto beans, in my mind they were a poor mans food and I linked that to rough financial times.  That and biscuits and gravy, I know, we crave that stuff now.  But when we had biscuits and gravy when I was a kid it was because mama didn't have bacon nor eggs in the fridge and she never bought dry cereal.   

Of course, I outgrew all this and realized my childhood was nothing to be ashamed of nor run from, it was like so many other childhoods during that time.  We were raised by parents that grew up in the depression era and they made every penny count.   Today I am proud of my childhood history and the fact that my children had life so much easier. 

  I also realized it was hard to eat a plate of BBQ without a side of beans and who can live in Texas without a plate of Texas Brisket with a good size helping of beans on the side.    And I married my sweet food loving hubby who craves pinto beans so we begin cooking them again.  And he is my seasoner, he is the one that does the taste test for salt, flavorings etc and he is always right.  

So we took pen to paper and with our cast iron dutch oven, we wrote the best Texas Pinto Beans with Ham Hock Recipe.   We follow this to a tea and it's always great.   We have even doubled it and it works.       

 Did you know that pinto beans are in fact a very healthy food?  Loaded with fiber, protein (15 grams per 1 cup)?   I now view these beans as comfort food embedded deep in our Texas roots and I think a little of mama making ends meet with this big pot of beans, where she filled our bellies with good food even though her wallet was sometimes empty.   

Texas Pinto Beans with Ham Hock Recipe

  • 1 lb of dry pinto beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock (1/2 lb +)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1. Clean beans by removing any little rocks or debris. Rinse beans well and place in a large dutch oven, fill with water and let soak overnight or at least 3-4 hours
2. Drain and rinse, add enough water to cover beans and bring to a boil. Drain, rinse and add enough water to cover the beans again. These steps will remove the gas from the beans and will reduce cooking time.
3. Bring them to a boil then lower heat to just a simmer, add the whole ham hock, chopped onion, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. On a low simmer cook for one hour and then begin checking for doneness, adding more water as needed
4. Wait to salt to taste when the beans are barely tender for two reasons, the ham hocks may add enough salt and the beans will get tender faster without the salt.
5. Before serving, remove 1/2 cup of beans, mash and return to the pot for thicker juice.
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And who knew all that much used worn out kitchen items, furniture and decorating items that mama used until they fell apart to save money are now treasured and are called shabby chic. 
I mean you can go check out Antique Farm House and Decor Steals to see all the decorating items that we now love.   Even Kirklands and Wayfair has jumped onto the bandwagon.   

Texas Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks are great with:

corn bread

cornbread with green chile, corn

grilling recipe

Or enjoy this:

black eye peas recipe
Creole Black Eye Peas and Rice


  1. I am so glad you posted this recipe, Evelyn ! My granny used to make something similar as a soup, which was one of my favorites and always take me decades back {I never got the recipe from her :-( } Pinned and stumbled !

  2. I love Evelyn that you used ham hock to flavor the stock. Great recipe.

  3. Yum-o! Hearty, stick to your ribs and good for you!! :)

  4. I love a good homemade beans recipe and yours looks so flavorful and fun to make! Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

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  6. Gonna copy this menu verbatim. Thanks y BB2U.

  7. Reading about how you had beans regularly growing up made me think of when we were house hunting many years ago. We were mostly looking at old fixer-uppers. So many of them had old stoves with built in bean pots and I found that very charming.


Thank you so much for your sweet comments:)))