Salt Drunken cowboy beans 494x396
Drunken Cowboy Beans

Drunken Cowboy Beans

Drunken Cowboy Beans


I only use Rancho Gordo beans in the restaurant, as I feel they are the best dried bean available. I never have to soak them, and they cook fast, with great-tasting pot liquor. Pinquito beans are a classic side to Central Coast barbecue (Santa Maria style) here in California. I call them "Cowboy Beans" when I serve them with my whole-hog barbecue. But with a little Maker’s Mark® Bourbon... I think 'Drunken Cowboy Beans' is a better title.

Servings: 8 cups
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Ready In:


  • 1 pound Rancho Gordo dried pinquito beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered with the root still intact
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into 3" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme, 8 peppercorns), tied up in cheesecloth
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2/3 cup Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
  • 1 pound Benton’s Slab Bacon, cut 1/4" x 1/4"
  • 1-1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 cups chicken stock or pot liquor from beans
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Cooked beans (recipe below)
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce, vinegar based
  • Salt to taste


  1. For cooked beans, combine beans, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bouquet garni, kosher salt and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook the beans until they are tender, but still firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the beans and discard the vegetables and aromatics, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid.
  4. For Cowboy Beans, render the bacon until crisp in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the onion and sweat on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not brown.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Do not brown.
  7. Add remaining ingredients, except for the barbecue sauce and Maker’s Mark® Bourbon.
  8. Simmer for an hour.
  9. Remove from the flame and stir in the bourbon and barbecue sauce.
  10. Return the pot to the heat and cook for an additional 15 minutes on low heat, until alcohol is not "hot."
  11. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
  12. Place in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish and bake at 500°F (about 8–10 minutes) until the sides begin to caramelize and bubble.
  13. Serve immediately.

Tags: Recipes, Side Dishes, Beans, Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Kosher Salt, Water, Bacon, Yellow Onions, Cumin Seed, Chili Powder, Oregano, Chicken Stock, Allspice, Barbecue Sauce, Salt, Hungry