Pour pinto beans into a colander. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Pour rinsed pinto beans into a bowl or saucepan. Fill with water. Cover with lid. Soak one hour on counter or in fridge. Overnight not required for this recipe.
While beans are soaking, rinse smoked ham hocks. Place in large saucepan.
Pour enough water to cover smoked ham hocks. Place lid on saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat. Check every 20 minutes. Add more water to keep meat covered.
Rinse pinto beans thoroughly. Pour into pot with smoked ham hocks. Cover and simmer over medium heat to desired tenderness. Soup should be thick and brown (not watery). I simmer for about 1.5 hours. Add more hot water "when" water decreases before pinto beans are done.
If using Hurst's Ham Beens, add flavor packet and unsalted butter (if using) to cooked pinto beans. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Gently stir and taste. Add more salt if desired.
Carefully chop hot ham hocks into small pieces.
Serve hot pinto beans with chopped ham hocks.
NOTE: Pour cooled pinto beans and ham hocks into a lidded container. Refrigerate. Tastes even better the next day.