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What kind of ham for a pot of beans?

I usually use bacon or no meat when I make a pot of pinto beans for use at home.

However, this afternoon I need to make a pot of beans to take to a friend and want to make them with ham. So, I will have to buy something but don't know what?

Should I buy a small ham and cut it into chuncks?

These really need to be good because his wife is a great cook! :<))

Will be grateful for help!

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  1. Smoked pork hock, daisy butt (aka daisy ham), or a thick ham slice (the kind that is about a half inch thick, with a central cross-section of marrow bone). If you are near a Honeybaked Ham store, they sell (very) meaty bones - one of those would be ideal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Thanks so much, greygarious (love your name).

      If only I were near a HBH store! and I have never heard of a daisy ham!.....but I can easily get a thick ham slice. That's a very good and feasible idea.

      I am making a mental note to pick up a few HBS bones when I am in their area.

      Many thanks!

      1. re: laredo

        Daisy ham has many aliases. I'lll bet your supermarket has it. The common denominator seems to be that it is encased in thick, dark-red plastic, sometimes with netting. It is cylindrical, about 3" in diameter, 6-8" long.

      2. re: greygarious

        I love Honeybaked hams with a passion. However; I find them to sweet to cook beans with.

        1. re: kengk

          But when you buy a HBH bone, there is little or no sugary skin. If there is any, it can be removed. By the way, I always ask, before getting a frozen one, if there is a bone that has not yet been frozen. That way I can cut some ham off if there's too much. I had never bothered to defrost the bone before putting it into the stockpot, but came to regret that, One time, I did not realize that what I had was actually a very small bone surrounded by a couple of pounds of meat. Once it fell off the bone, I was left with WAY too much split-pea braised ham. I wound up cooking more peas with just water and onion, and a freezer containing 17 pints of split pea soup. Do you know how long it takes one person to go through that much split pea soup? I didn't make it for years thereafter! So I now autopsy my HBH bones before getting out the soup pot.

          1. re: greygarious

            Two pounds of split pea braised ham = my lunch and mid afternoon snack. : )

            The next time we are near a store I will have to go in and inquire, never knew they sold the spent bones. I really like the bits that the spiral slicer can't cut to make various things with. Especially with pineapple and onion served over rice.

      3. A smoked turkey leg works well to if finding smoked ham products turns out to be difficult.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smtucker

          I will look for both items.

          Thanks for the daisy explanation, grey. I just asked my mother and she had not heard of it either. :<))

          Thanks, sm and grey.

        2. Whatever you decide to use, ham hocks, ham chunks or a thick ham slice, be sure to roast it to brown before adding it to the bean pot. You'll experience a much higher level of flavor if you brown it first.

          1. I use a couple of smoked ham hocks for flavor but if the ham hocks don't have a lot of meat on them, I will add a cubed ham steak the last 30 minutes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hank Hanover

              +1 on the smoked hocks. I get mine from a Dutch market and they are always meaty and packed with flavor @ $2.89/lb they usually sell for around $4 - $4.50 each...way better than a super market.

            2. Around here smoked pork neck bones are easier to find than hocks. Easier to cut up, quite meaty, and cheaper, too!

              1. Not something you can get in most grocery stores, at least here in Texas, but salty Virginia ham is wonderful with beans.

                1. My store doesn't carry ham hocks, but they carry pig knuckles. Usually 2 to a package. I use those and also a slab of ham diced up. Works great.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: boyzoma

                    I'm so glad I started this thread. I have learned a lot about beans. Who knew!? Thanks to all.

                    1. re: laredo

                      If I want a large pot of beans with leftovers, I use ham hocks or even better, ham shanks which are leaner. They're disappearing from grocery stores but with some shopping they can be found. If I'm making a smaller pot of beans, I buy Canadian bacon in a sealed package from the deli section or Costco. Canadian bacon is great, can be used like ham and I divide up the larger family size packages and put some in the freezer. Hamhocks / hamshanks can be fatty so you have to trim off the outer rind, the fat and the bones when they're cooked. Canadian bacon is perfectly lean and ready to dice.

                  2. I'm of the "use what you have at hand" school. I like ham bones for red beans or other beans that are going to be cooked on the stovetop, bacon or bits of ham for beans that are going to be baked.. Last week I made a batch of baked beans using the drippings from some braised spare ribs: since they were rubbed with a mixture that contained brown sugar and chiles they came out very flavorful. I've also used leftover ribs for pinto beans - there's enough connective tissue left on them to give the beans a good flavor.

                    Salt pork is the traditional meat for New England style baked beans but I don't particularly care for it.

                    1. If I don't have a ham bone I buy smoked pork neck bones or ham hocks if I just want the flavor and not meat to go with the beans. BTW if you live near a premium ham store like Honeybaked, ask whether they sell ham bones. The ones that do leave a lot of meat on the bone because the slicing machines they use to spiral-cut for platters can't go as far on the ham as we would do if slicing by hand.

                      1. I agree with all of the wonderful ideas on hambones, bacon and anything else smoked & salted.

                        Another layer of flavor that I keep on had is, when I render bacon, I pour off the fat & add some water to the frypan to get the little brown bits (fronds). Use a small container and put them in the freezer to grab when beans or legumes of any kind are on the menu. If you brown the hambone, then same suggestion; make sure to get the fronds into the pot.

                        Thanks for the suggestion to get some meaty bones from HBH!!! Must go on shopping list!