Texas-Style Pinto Beans
This unfussy barbecue side dish proves that sometimes the simplest way is the best.
Why This Recipe Works
Different from mashed or refried beans, Texas-style pinto beans are tender whole beans long-simmered with pork and served up in the velvety, savory broth they cook in. For supremely creamy beans, we soaked dried pinto beans overnight in salted water to gradually rehydrate them so that they cooked up evenly and more quickly than straight-from-dried. Plus, the salt in the soaking liquid seasoned them nicely. To cook them, we covered them with fresh water, and added a bit more salt to ensure that the bean skins were fully tender and a smoked ham hock to provide rich pork flavor. We then simmered them uncovered for 1½ hours to reduce and concentrate the cooking liquid and give it smoky complexity and meaty, buttery sweetness.