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Texas Chuck Wagon Pinto Beans Recipe
by Amos Miller

Texas Chuck Wagon Pinto Beans

This dish is all about FLAVOR. San Antonio and Ft. Worth are my two favorite places to be when in Texas. This recipe was inspired by some dining experiences there and, to my palate, is as Texas as bluebonnets in Spring.

Sweet and spicy, richly textured, these beans cry out for anything BBQ'd, grilled or broiled. Corn on the cob, roasted in the husk and well-buttered, your favorite slaw recipe and honey butter biscuits will make the meal - a great baked apple or peach cobbler will complete it.

I usually prepare this dish in a Mexican clay 'olla' or Tuscan 'fagioliera' when serving a few friends, then dish it out at the table as the aromas fill the kitchen. But I guarantee success when prepared in stainless or enamelware. As always, do what you do in YOUR cucina because its really all about the end result - dining satisfaction!

If you aren't a pressure-cooker kitchen, there's no sin in using canned beans here. And the longer and slower you cook this dish, the better it will be. So kick the dust off your boots and set awhile. This will be well worth waiting for...

Iced tea, lemon or limeade, cold cervezas and margaritas go well with this dish.

Rating: 4.8/5
Avg. 4.8/5 6 votes
Prep time: United States American
Cook time: Servings: 1

Goes Well With: slaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, Maple Bacon Cornbread

Wine and Drink Pairings: southern iced tea, beer, limeade, margaritas, lemonade


  • 2 - 28oz cans of pinto beans, rinsed well
  • 1 - 15oz can of pinto beans, rinsed well
  • 1 large green Bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 c sorghum molasses
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb apple- or hickory-smoked bacon, finely diced (TIP: freeze your bacon - it makes even and fast dicing a breeze)
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, well minced (you can use less, to your taste - but it should have some body!)
  • 1/3 c Jack Daniels bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp mesquite liquid smoke


  1. In a deep, heavy pot, render the minced bacon, cooking until firm. Drain the fat, reserve the cooked bacon
  2. Sweat the onion, bell pepper and garlic until translucent and soft
  3. Add the Jack Daniels and reduce by half (that will cook off the alcohol, but give you a great woody flavor)
  4. Add the brown sugar, molasses, allspice, chipotle in adobo, cayenne and cooked bacon and combine well
  5. Add the liquid smoke and then the rinsed pinto beans
  6. Stir it all together, bring to a boil and reduce immediately to a slow simmer. Cook on med-low for at least one hour, giving it a stir once in a while. Longer slow cooking improves the dish.
  7. The end result should be a dark, creamy dish in which the components are difficult to single out.