Prepare to fall in love with this simple slow cooker take on Southern-style pinto beans with ham hocks! While it takes a bit of time, it’s a breeze to make and perfect with ham hocks or leftover ham bone.
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I always kick off with dry beans – Camellia’s my top pick! But remember, it’s not just the brand that matters; freshness is key. Be sure to grab your beans from a market with a high turnover.
Smoked ham hocks bring in that delightful smoky ham essence along with some tasty fat. And for our non-pork pals, smoked turkey wings make a fantastic alternative!
Yellow onions are a must for me—I love adding chopped onion to my dishes. Well, unless my brother’s dropping by (he’s not a fan of onions)!
Salt is the secret ingredient! I sprinkle some right at the beginning, and then I’ll fine-tune the saltiness towards the end of the cooking journey.
I bet you’ve heard the old tale about salting early will make beans tough. But guess what? My beans are not just delicious; they’re super tender too. The choice is totally up to you!
Chicken stock or broth is like a flavor booster for your beans, but hey, I’m all about keeping it clean, so I make sure to check the label for those cleaner ingredients.
I like to use a combo of water and chicken broth for extra oomph, but hey, you can go with your gut and use one or the other. It’s your kitchen, your rules!
Here’s where you get to be the boss of your beans! If you’re feeling it, you can sprinkle in some black pepper, and garlic, or toss in a bay leaf or two. Your kitchen, your beans—season them just the way you love!
Here’s a little secret that will raise some eyebrows: you don’t have to soak your beans before cooking! Soaking beans can speed up the cooking process, but in our crockpot adventure, it’s not necessary. Just remember to give them a good sort and rinse to remove any dirt.
It’s time to give our trusty slow cooker some love! We’re tossing in those freshly rinsed beans, chopped onions, a pinch of salt, the glorious ham hocks, and a mix of chicken stock and water. Let the magic begin!
Because we’re all about the hands-off cooking experience, this recipe adds a bit more liquid (great for pairing with cornbread). But if you’re keeping an eye on the pot and can add more liquid if necessary, you can start with just three cups of water.
Here’s the scoop: about 2 tablespoons of salt for one pound of beans is a good starting point. Remember, though, the ham hocks and chicken stock bring their own saltiness to the party. You can add more later, but once it’s in, you can’t take it out! I like to kick things off with 1 tablespoon of salt, and then I give it a taste test towards the end to fine-tune the flavor. It’s all about getting it just right!
Once you’ve got all your ingredients cozied up in the crockpot, give it a friendly stir, pop on the lid, and let the magic happen on high heat. The cooking time might dance around a bit, depending on your beans and your slow cooker. Mine danced for about eight hours!
When those beans reach the perfect tender stage, just give them a little skim to bid farewell to any extra fat. Say goodbye to those ham hock bones and any fatty bits too. And of course, don’t forget to give them a taste test – if they’re yearning for a bit more salt, go ahead and sprinkle some in. Your beans are now ready to shine at the table!
If you’ve had a blast with this recipe, you might just find my Navy bean recipe a tasty adventure too!
- 1 pound Pinto beans dry
- 1/2 each Onion Medium, diced
- 1 Pound Ham hocks 2, smoked
- 1 Tablespoon Salt You can add more latter
- 4 Cups Chicken broth
- 4 Cups Water
- Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and stir.1 pound Pinto beans, 1/2 each Onion, 1 Pound Ham hocks, 1 Tablespoon Salt, 4 Cups Chicken broth, 4 Cups Water
- Cover with a lid and cook until tender.
- Skim off excess fat, and remove the bones and chunks of fat.
- Taste and adjust salt as needed.