Frijoles a la Charra

 Serves: 20+ Servings     |     Prep: 1 hr 30 min     |     Cook: 5 hrs     |     Ready: 5 hrs


4 Lb. Pinto Beans
1/4 cup Salt (Add to salt water, for pre-
     boiling. All salt drained off)
1-1/2 Lb. Thick Bacon (or bacon pieces)
     cut into 1” squares
1 Medium Sweet Onion (1-1/2 cup
1 small Jalapeño (chopped finely) or 2
     Serrano Peppers that have been
     boiled for 20 min.
1 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
     (drained and chopped into big
1-1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
1-1/2 T. Crushed Garlic
2 T. Cilantro (finely chopped)
1/2 Liter Dos Equis Beer


Pretty much anyone that cooks has
one dish they are known for: this is
the recipe that my husband Leroy is famous for. Hands down best beans you will ever eat. Way to much work
for me, so I will gladly let this be
“HIS” recipe of fame.


Run lots and lots of water over the Pinto Beans in a Colander. Beans are dirty! After the beans are no longer making the water dirty, you are ready to begin.

In a large stewpot, bring enough water to a boil to cover the 4 Lbs. of Pinto Beans by 1”.

Add 1/4 cup salt and stir until dissolved. Pinto Beans are usually still dirty so make note that all of this water (and salt) will be discarded.

Add Pinto Beans. Stir well to clean beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until just simmering. Simmer about an hour. When the Pinto Beans are beginning to get “puffy” you are through with the pre-boil and ready to start with fresh, clean water and we must measure carefully this time because this is the amount of water the juice will be made of.

NOTE: The Pinto Beans are boiling hot! If you put COLD water on the beans to rinse them, THEY WILL SPLIT OPEN! So, we must rinse and refill the pot with very HOT water!

Pour out all of the beans and water into a colander. (you might need two colanders ) Use very hot water to rinse the beans and set them aside in their colander. Wash out the large stewpot to remove all dirt that has collected. I am told that another benefit of throwing away the original water and using new water is that this process gets rid of the chemicals that can make you “gassy”, so we are making “Fartless beans” in this step.

Refill the pot with hot water (Just barely enough to cover the beans this time) and 2 Tbl. of Salt.

Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat until the boil disappears. Add the Pinto Beans. They should remain whole and NOT split. The beans will begin to absorb a lot of water and so you must carefully monitor the water level in the stewpot to make sure the beans are always covered. If the water level gets low and even ONE bean burns on the bottom of the stewpot—start over. The entire pot will taste burned. Trust me. I know.

From this point you have about 4 hours to go until you are enjoying these beans. In a separate pan, (a really big pan) Cook the 1-1/2 Lbs. of bacon as usual. Do not drain the bacon grease. In another pan, cook the sweet Onion and the Garlic until the Onion is translucent. Add the Jalapeño, Tomatoes, Fresh ground Pepper and Cilantro. Simmer for about an hour until the flavors have combined and the sauce begins to thicken. Add the Bacon and all of the grease to the mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add 1/2 liter Dos Equis beer to mixture and simmer for 2 minutes.

Check the water in the beans! You are in the perfect place if the beans are fairly puffy and the water is just barely covering the Pinto Beans. As soon as the beer is hot (in step 9) add the entire pan of bacon-ey goodness to the beans.

Continue simmering the stewpot until the beans are no longer firm but before the beans begin to dissolve. You probably won’t need to add any water because the Bacon Grease forms a seal on the top of the beans to keep the water from evaporating. ENJOY! Beans can be frozen for later!

*This recipe makes a lot of beans, so great a thing to do with the extra beans is to drain them and then process them in the food processor and place in zip-lock bags in the freezer. Whenever you need re-fried beans just pop a bag out and heat. You won’t believe how delicious they are.