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Yard Beans – Pinto Beans in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Cooking pinto beans outside in a cast iron dutch oven will keep you from having to go back inside to make side dishes when you're barbecuing.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 9 cups



The Night Before

  • Pick through the dried beans to remove any rocks or debris that might have found their way in there. Put the beans in a large bowl and fill with water so that the beans are submerged with at least 2-inches of water over them.
  • Roast the green chiles - Roast your green chiles over charcoal, a gas burner, or under the broiler, on the top rack in your oven, until the skins are completely blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool. Remove, then gently wipe off the skins with your fingers. Remove the stems and seeds, then dice.

The Next Day

  • Drain and rinse your beans.
  • Light 18 charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter or barbecue pit. Once they've fully lit (the coals are white) place them, evenly spaced, underneath your cast iron dutch oven. Pour the cooking oil into the dutch oven and heat until shimmering. Add the diced onions and saute until translucent and starting to brown.
  • Add the chicken stock, beans, pork hocks, black pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper to the pot and stir thoroughly. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Once the pot has come to a boil, remove enough charcoal to leave about 8-10 underneath the dutch oven to bring it down to a simmer (depending on weather conditions - see above). Simmer covered, for 1 hour, replacing the coals as necessary to maintain the simmer (about every 30 minutes, or so).
  • Remove the pork hocks from the beans to a cutting board. Cut the meat and skin off the bones. Discard the bones and skin (if desired - I dice the skin and put it back in). Dice up the meat and stir it back into the pot.
  • Add the diced green chiles to the pot, then smash about 1/2 a cup of the beans up against the side of the pot and stir them back in (this will make the broth creamy). Cover and simmer for at least another 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender. If the broth appears too thick, add more stock. If it's too thin, add enough hot coals underneath to bring back to a boil, uncover and let reduce to the desired consistency.
  • Add salt to taste and serve.


Pork hocks are salty.  It is likely that you will not need to add any salt to the beans.  If you want a lower salt version or less salt, reduce the amount of pork hocks.
Beans freeze well.
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