Southern Pinto Beans cooked with smoked ham hocks, are tender with a hearty brown soup.
Serve this southern classic as a side or main dish with Homemade Self-Rising Cornbread.
EDITOR’S NOTE (June 19, 2022): Published the original recipe on July 4, 2019. Today, I updated the recipe and instructions. Also added helpful tips with photos.
DISCLAIMER (NOT SPONSORED): I have not been paid to endorse pictured products. Delighted to share what I purchased and used to make this delicious recipe.
All comments are my own.
One onion (before chopping), salt, smoked ham hock, and pinto beans.
THE LIQUID: USE CHICKEN BROTH OR HAM BROTH
Although many enjoy cooking pintos in chicken broth, I prefer delicious Ham Broth.
While beans are soaking, make the Ham Broth.
Place one smoked ham hock (rinsed) and a coarsely chopped white onion in a large pot.
Add 16 cups of water. Simmer for 1 hour. Drain before using.
Discard the onions. Keep the ham hock in the pot.
Set aside until ready to add prepared pinto beans.
HOW TO SORT DRY PINTO BEANS
Never pour dry pinto beans directly from the bag into the pot.
Dry beans are a natural agricultural product. Despite using modern cleaning equipment, foreign material and grains may get into the package.
They’re easy to inspect and sort. Simply pour dry pintos into a large bowl or spread out on a flat surface.
Carefully search for foreign particles. Discard whatever you find.
HOW TO RINSE PINTO BEANS
Place a colander or bowl in the sink. Pour in the sorted pinto beans.
SHOULD PINTO BEANS BE SOAKED BEFORE SIMMERING ON STOVE TOP?
Soaking dry pinto beans will remove gas and make them easier to digest.
Another benefit is soaked beans cook much faster than dry beans.
The bags that contain dry pinto beans have instructions written on the back for both Quick Soak and Overnight Soak (eight hours). The instructions are specifically for pinto beans that will be simmered in a pot on top of the stove.
Since this recipe calls for soaking, I’ve included helpful tips for both Quick Soak and Overnight Soak (eight hours). Scroll down for complete details.
According to hurstbeans.com (experts), pinto beans do not have to be soaked if cooked in a slow cooker.
In my humble opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference. One benefit of soaking is decreased cooking time. Soaked beans definitely cook faster than dry!
Check out my recipe for Crock Pot Pinto Beans.
HOW TO SOAK PINTO BEANS (AFTER SORTING/RINSING)
Pour sorted/rinsed pinto beans into a pot.
Add water until it rises 2 inches above the beans.
Place lid on pot. Turn on high heat.
Allow beans to boil for 2 minutes before turning off heat.
Keep lid on the pot while beans soak.
USE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SOAK METHODS
1. Quick Soak: Soak 2 hours with lid on pot.
2. Overnight Soak (Suggested): Keep pintos in pot as shown above or pour beans and water into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Soak 8 hours or overnight.
DRAIN & RINSE
After soaking one hour, drain and rinse pinto beans.
Place a colander or large bowl in sink.
Pour in the soaked pinto beans and the soak water.
Drain and rinse thoroughly with water.
HOW TO PREPARE THE SMOKED HAM HOCK
This recipe calls for one smoked ham hock. It provides the delicious smoky ham flavor in pinto beans.
Before soaking pinto beans, simmer a smoked ham hock in water for one hour.
Check water level after 30 minutes. If water drops below the ham hock, add more to cover it.
After 1 hour, turn heat off. Place lid on pot. Set aside until pinto beans are through soaking.
SMOKED TURKEY WINGS (ALTERNATIVE SEASONING)
Smoked Turkey Wings are sold in medium sized pieces slathered with delicious smoked seasonings. Do not rinse before cooking.
Perfect for individuals who avoid pork for whatever reason.
I prefer Smoked Turkey Wings Cajun Style.
HAM FLAVOR PACKET
The Ham Flavor packet is included with the brand of pinto beans I purchased for this recipe.
When the pintos are done, sprinkle contents packet over the top. Stir gently.
Cover pot with lid. Let stand two minutes.
Serve as a side or main dish with diced onions and Homemade Self-Rising Cornbread (Muffins).
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Southern Pinto Beans
- 1 bag (20 ounces) dry pinto beans
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 large onion (optional) Peeled and chopped.
- salt to taste
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped To garnish each serving (optional).
PREPARE PINTO BEANS
- Inspect, sort and rinse pinto beans.
- Soak "rinsed" beans as instructed on the back of the package. Use Quick Soak Method or Overnight Soak Method (Suggested).
PREPARE SMOKED HAM HOCK
- One hour before pinto beans are through soaking, prepare ham hock.
- Thoroughly rinse smoked ham hock. Place in a large pot. Add water until it rises 2 inches about the meat.
- Simmer over medium-high heat for 1 hour. Check after 30 minutes. If water drops below meat, add enough to cover it. Continue simmering over medium-high heat for 30 more minutes.
- After simmering ham hock for 1 hour, turn heat off. Cover pot with a lid. Set aside.
SOUTHERN PINTO BEANS
- When the pinto beans are through soaking, do the following...
- Place a colander OR bowl in the sink. Pour in pinto beans AND soak water. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Pour SOAKED/RINSED pinto beans into the same pot with the ham hock and "seasoned" water. Add chopped onions (if using). Pour in water until it rises 2 inches above contents. Stir together.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat until beans reach desired tenderness.
- Check after 30 minutes. If water drops low before beans reach desired tenderness, add more water until it rises at l1 inch above contents.
- AFTER pinto beans reach desired tenderness, add preferred amount of salt and sprinkle in the Ham Flavor Packet (pictured above). Soup should be thick and brown (not watery).
- Gently stir. Cover pot with lid. Let stand 2 minutes. Taste a "cooled" sample. Add more salt if desired.
- Serve hot. Garnish each serving with chopped onions (optional).
- REFRIGERATION TIP: Pour cooled pinto beans and ham hocks into a container. Cover with an airtight lid. Refrigerate up to four days.