What are Charro Beans?
Known as either Frijoles Charros, Cowboy Beans, or Charro Beans. This traditional Mexican bean recipe is a hearty soup made with pinto beans in a light broth with loads of seasonings. My Charro Beans recipe is flavored with bacon, ham, chorizo, onions, chilies, tomatoes, spices, and herbs. Charro Beans are perfect for feeding a crowd and is a great side dish at a cookout. Traditionally these Frijoles Charros were ranch food, meant to feed a crew of hungry cowboys (Charros). When I go out for Mexican food, I always substitute Charro Beans for the refried beans. They’re not always on the menu, but I’ve never been to a Mexican restaurant that didn’t have them.
In wintertime, my recipe for Charro Beans I like to make my beans from scratch. In the summer I prefer to use canned beans, it’s just too dang hot to simmer dried beans for 2-3 hours. A good quality canned bean is just fine in this instance and all the additional meats and spices make them out of this world delicious.
In the summer, I use bacon, ham, and chorizo. Therefore you’ll need to wait until the end of cooking to decide if you need any additional salt or not. In the winter, along with the bacon, ham, and chorizo, I add a rack of baby back pork ribs, the ribs have the most amazing flavor. The long simmer time to cook the beans is perfect for the ribs, the meat falls off the bone, perfectly tender and delicious. With all of this flavor, this is seriously the best Charro Beans recipe, and it can’t get much better.
Mexican Chorizo vs Spanish Chorizo
- Mexican Chorizo is a raw, ground pork or beef sausage that must be cooked before eating. It is made with very fatty cuts of meat and is highly seasoned with a variety of spices including vinegar, chili pepper, and cumin, and is typically a dark red color.
- Spanish Chorizo is a cured, ready to eat pork sausage. Seasoned mainly with paprika it may be sweet or spicy, depending on the variety. Typically served sliced on meat tray, charcuterie or cheese plates or used as an ingredient in stew or paella
Ingredients for Authentic Charro Beans
- Pinto Bean: Beans are the main ingredient in Charro Beans and pinto beans are found in a majority of authentic Mexican bean recipes. They can be made fresh from dried beans or from canned. If using canned beans make sure you rinse them well before adding to the recipe.
- Diced Onions and Garlic: These cousins form the background flavor to the recipe. Raw, they are very potent and intense with a sharp bite, by sautéing them they melt into the Charro Beans infusing them with a pleasant savory flavor.
- Tomatoes: Add sweetness and body to the beans
- Ham, Bacon, and Mexican Chorizo: Yeah, I add all three. If you want to pick just one, I would go with the Mexican Chorizo, it has all the seasoning in it that give the Charro Beans their flavor.
- Jalapeño: The beans need just a little heat; one jalapeño is perfect
Mexican chorizo is made with fatty cuts of pork or beef. I like to dab up the excess oil with paper towels when browning Mexican Chorizo.
My Charro Beans recipe is perfect for a crockpot or slow cooker. Served with cornbread, a sprinkle of queso fresco, diced avocado, and a topped with freshly chopped cilantro. It is a great meal by itself or the perfect side dish for Mexican food or BBQ.
Here’s my Charro Beans recipe:
- Dutch Oven
- 2 Cans Pinto Beans 15-ounce cans, rinsed
- 1 Cup Onion Diced
- 6 Cloves Garlic Crushed and chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 Pound Bacon Diced
- 1/2 Pound Mexican Chorizo
- 1/2 Pound Ham Diced
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Jalapeno Halved lengthwise
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Lime Wedges
- Queso Fresco
- Add the diced bacon, chorizo and ham to a pot, fry until nicely browned. Drain off the grease then use a paper towel to soak up as much grease as possible.
- Add the onion and jalapeno, sauté until onions are translucent about 5-minutes, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds
- Add the beans, tomatoes, oregano, and water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low
- Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 30 minutes, skim any grease off that rises to the surface.
- Serve with the cilantro, avocado, limes, and queso fresco on the side
Thank you for visiting my Food Blog. I hope you enjoy my Charro Beans recipe. Please come back and visit again soon! Bon appetit, Steven
Why do beans cause gas?
Let’s face it, that’s really the question on everyone’s mind! Beans will often cause people to be a little gassy, luckily, soaking dry beans can help reduce the problem of flatulence. Beans contain a type of complex sugar called ‘oligosaccharides’. Unfortunately, humans do not have the enzyme in our bodies necessary to digest the type of complex sugar found in beans. The result is that the oligosaccharides pass from the stomach into the large intestine undigested where it is consumed by bacteria causing fermentation. The byproduct of the fermentation is gas.
How to reduce flatulence caused by eating beans?
Canned beans should always be rinsed, the liquid in the can is saturated in the complex sugars that cause gas. Therefore, rinsing canned beans will remove a large percentage of the sugars that cause gas. The problem with canned beans and flatulence arises when you have canned beans that you buy specifically for the sauce, for example, BBQ Beans, Baked Beans, etc. Since you don’t want to rinse off all that flavor, the sauce is saturated in Oligosaccharides. It is a good reason to make your beans from scratch, dried beans to the rescue.
Oligosaccharides are water-soluble when you soak the beans over-night some of this sugar dissolves into the water. After soaking the oligosaccharides will be in the soaking liquid rather than in the beans themselves. Pour the beans out through a colander and giving them a good rinse. Place the beans in fresh water for cooking will remove some of this unwanted sugar and should help in reducing the gas problem.
You need to soak dry beans. There are two ways to soak beans, overnight and a quick soak.
- Overnight Soak: simply place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water, cover, and let soak at least 12 hours. When ready to cook, simply drain and rinse the beans and add the cooking liquid of your choice; water, broth, stock, etc.
- Quick Soak: place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cover, let soak for around 3-4 hours. Same as the overnight method, when ready to cook, simply drain and rinse the beans and add the cooking liquid of your choice; water, broth, stock, etc.