Saturday, May 26, 2012

Campfire Beans

A few weeks ago, we had a sneak peek into summer on our Coastal corner of California. We seized the moment, to fire up our Weber grill, and to invite friends for a backyard barbecue.

For the menu, I decided to make Beef Brisket, Homemade Barbecue Sauce, and Cole Slaw. To round out the meal, beans seemed like the perfect choice.   I do love beans, that's for sure. My family likes the California Barbecue Beans I've posted before.  I'm always on the lookout for Ranch Style beans.  I recently saw a Pioneer Woman episode, on Food Network, for these campfire beans.  Since they're made with pinto beans, one of my favorites, this seemed like a good time to make them.

When I make pinto beans, I usually soak them overnight.  PW didn't soak hers, so I went along for the ride.   Just plan on four hours to allow the beans to cook low and slow.

Rinse and clean 4 cups of pinto beans.  Smoked Ham hocks (or shanks) give a smoky flavor to beans, so I tossed in a couple of them, covered the beans with water and cooked them for a couple of hours; check every so often that the water doesn't evaporate, which mine never did.

The funny thing is, Ree's recipe doesn't specifically say what to do with the ham hocks.  I simply removed them, and pulled them off the bone, chopped them, and set them aside.


The veggies include diced onion and two red bell peppers.   I decided to use only one red bell pepper, and plenty of minced garlic-- about 4 large cloves.  The spices includes chili powder, salt & pepper, but added cumin, because I love it.

I veered off from the original recipe, by added all of the vegetables and the spices, at the same time, to the cooked beans-- then I let this cook for a couple more hours.

I added the chopped ham,  and turned the pot down to a low simmer, until the beans thickened.

 Yep, they thickened nicely...

The smoked brisket turned out perfectly-- and I have posted that recipe here.    My husband did a great job with that brisket-- my mouth waters, just remember that dinner.

 TASTING NOTES:  What I liked about these beans is the smoky flavor from the ham hock.  I don't regret using only one bell pepper, as opposed to two.  I served the beans with hot sauce, on the side.  The next time I made these,  (during the last 20 minutes or so) I added two jalapenos...a little too hot for me!  However, I think 1/2 a fresh jalapeno will make these perfect and would add even more flavor.  The beans received a lot of compliments, from our dinner guest.  They weren't any leftovers, either.

So far, this Memorial Weekend is off to a chilly, drizzly start.  So far, the forecast isn't looking so "hot".   That won't stop us from doing some grilling for this three-day "unofficial" start of summer.  Sunny days will come in no time at all, and this gives us an excuse to go to a matinee-- along with the rest of the crowds.

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.  If you can't view it, click here to see it.

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Valerie said...

Yum!! Can almost smell that smokey bean scent wafting through the screen.

Joanne said...

I didn't grow up on beans as bbq fare, but I totally wish I had. These look so tasty and like total comfort food!

Kate said...

Yum! Looking for a simple, straight-forward bean recipe!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I knew the minute I saw this title I would love these beans. I'm a southerner and we love our beans.

I always soak beans too and I think it would be a good idea here as opposed to having to cook them for hours. Just my two cents. Have a wonderful weekend. Hope your weather improves.

Joan Nova said...

Those beans look really good. Ham hocks are wonderful and I haven't used them in a long time. Thanks for the reminder.

LDH said...

So happy to be following your blog! :)

Kindly, Lorraine

Christine said...

As a kid, Mom "made" canned baked beans. Thankfully not often! These look really good! May just have to try them.

bellini said...

The biggest compliment is when there are no leftovers Debbie!!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Yum, one of my favorite summertime meals. I think I'll play it safe and soak the beans ahead of time. I like them to be nice and soft. Our weekend is overcast and a little damp too but that doesn't stop the grilling. I hope you are enjoying your long weekend.

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

I love beans and this is a wonderful recipe - the fact that there were no leftovers says it all!
Mary x

Karen said...

Nice recipe... I used to use smoked turkey legs in my beans, but can't find them anymore around here, so I've been using smoked ham hocks. I do the same thing... take the meat off the bone and add it back in. I think I need to make some beans!