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Cowboy Pinto Beans

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

These beans taste like you’re on the Chisholm Trail fresh from a cattle drive. They’re a bunch of work, but they’re worth it, for the flavor is straight from the Old West—other than the Worcestershire sauce, that is.

Tip: Julia Child’s method of soaking beans is to cover them with plenty of water and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover tightly, and let sit for 1 hour. Then drain and cook as usual.


  1. 1Wash and pick over the beans, removing wrinkled or shrunken beans.
  2. 2Make several cuts into the salt pork down to, but not through, the rind.
  3. 3Combine the beans, salt pork, water, tomatoes, garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, chile peppers, Worcestershire sauce, and barbecue sauce in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook very slowly, covered, stirring the beans up from the bottom occasionally and adding water if they start looking dry.
  4. 4Cook for at least 2 hours. When the beans are soft (not mushy) but still hold their shape, they are done. Serve hot.

This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.

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