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Jul 24, 2010 01:34 PM

"texas style" beans


I don't know if this should go in a regional board or here. . .

I never liked baked beans growing up because they were too sweet. I've never liked the idea of sweet + vegetable (or legume). Those yams with the marshmallows? ok getting carried away.

Then I ate at Salt Lick in Austin TX. The beans were savory, with some onion and garlic, a bit meaty and not too much spice.

I've can't find mama robert's recipe for the beans. I've tried searching for texas style baked beans. All I find is the stuff covered in catsup and brown sugar that I hate.

Anyone have any links or recipes for me?

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  1. Here is a recipe I have used. Although this recipe calls for chiles and chili powder and if prepared as is will have a kick of spice to it, you can reduce the amount of heat as much as you'de like. I usually bring them to the boil and then put them in a crockpot on high for 2 - 3 hours or until the beans are cooked through to the consistency that you like them.

    Cowboy Beans


    2 cups dried pinto beans, picked over and soaked overnight
    1 yellow onion, diced
    2 garlic cloves, diced
    3 whole tien tsin chili peppers (small, dried, hot peppers)
    1/4 pound finely chopped bacon
    1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 14.5 ounce can of water
    1/2 teaspoon beef soup base
    1 tablespoon chili powder

    Drain the soaked beans and add to a kettle with all of the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 2 -3 hours, stirring occasionally. You’ll have enough beans to serve a lot of hungry cowboys with 4-ounce servings and some left over to accompany your morning eggs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: John E.

      This seems pretty close. I don't remember the beans I ate having very much in the way of tomatoes though. I might do just put a spoon or two of tomato paste and replace the can with bean soaking liquid (great color when you cook pintos)

      1. re: j8715

        The tomatoes pretty much disappear into the beans. After all the cooking, there are no discernable chunks of tomatoes. If you put in too much tomato paste it could get to 'tomatoey'.

        1. re: John E.

          What color are the beans when finished? I'm looking for brown

          1. re: j8715

            They are reddish brown. They sort of look like the canned baked/bbq beans but not as dark. You can tell they are pinto beans. Since there really isn't any sugar in the recipe, there is no carmelization to darken the beans (like molasses does in baked beans). I have a confession to make, I make these beans mostly because I don't really like regular baked beans, they are too sweet and bbqie, to coin a term.

      2. re: John E.

        That does sound really good. I'm going to have to make these. Too bad I didn't see this until now or we would be having these with our ribs tonight!

      3. I made Chris Kimball's Drunken "Borracho" beans a couple of weeks ago. This recipe is perfection IMO. I served it with brisket ... but the leftovers were enjoyed with cornbread. If you don't like heat I would recommend just adding some of the sauce from the can of chipotles ... there was some heat in the beans - but I added three chipotle peppers because we're pretty hard-core chile-eaters here in Albuquerque :)
        Serves 4 to 6
        Drunken "Borracho" beans/frijoles
        8 ounces chorizo sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces

        1 onion, chopped fine

        4 garlic cloves, minced

        1 teaspoon dried oregano

        1 teaspoon chili powder

        1 pound pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained

        1 (12-ounce) bottle dark Mexican beer (see note)

        5 cups water

        1 tablespoon brown sugar

        2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce


        2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

        1 tablespoon lime juice

        1. Cook sausage in Dutch oven over medium heat until browned, about 8 minutes; transfer to paper towel–lined plate. Cook onion in sausage fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans, beer, and water and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until beans are just soft, about 1 hour.

        2. Stir in sugar, chipotle, and 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are completely tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 50 minutes. Return sausage to pot and simmer until sausage is tender, about 10 minutes. (If mixture becomes too thick, add water.) Stir in cilantro and lime juice and season with salt. Serve. (Beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 days.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: lilygirl

          The CI recipe looks even better than the one I've used. I'll have to try it. What was the note about the Mexican beer? Was it just a suggestion that if you can't find dark Mexican beer that any dark beer can be substituted?

          What I also find interesting about this recipe is that I'm sure Chris Kimball himself doesn't really eat it as written because he is famous for not liking spicy food.

        2. Just in case you guys are sweltering as much as we are in this heat:

          I made a bean dish very similar to those mentioned above this morning, but instead of boiling it, I threw it in a casserole dish and cooked it in our "toaster oven" at 325 for about an hour and a half. I'm not sure if the consistency is quite as good as stovetop, but they taste just fine to me, and the thought of firing up the stove and turning the kitchen into a sauna was just more than I could bear.