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Santa Maria Pinquito Beans

Serves 8-10     adjust servings

These Santa Maria style Pinquito Beans are the perfect summer barbecue side dish! Originally created in Santa Maria, California to be served alongside Grilled Tri Tip, these beans are smokey and sweet with the perfect blend of spices. Eat them with tri tip or serve alongside whatever else you are barbecuing this summer!


In a large pot

  • 1 pound dry pinquito beans
  • 1 ham hock
  • 10 cups water

In a 12-inch high sided skillet

  • 1 pound bacon, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim chiles*
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • sour cream, to garnish
  • chopped white onion, to garnish


  1. Cook the beans. Rinse the pinquito beans under water and pick out any stones or debris. Add the beans to a large stock pot along with the ham hock, and about 10 cups of water. The water should cover the beans by at least a couple inches, the water amount doesn't have to be exact. Cover the beans and turn the heat to high. Bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, usually this is about medium-low heat but every stove is different. There should be a slow bubble in the center of the pot. Simmer for about 2-3 hours. Check the water level and add more hot water as necessary to keep the water at least 1 inch above the beans. Make sure you bring it back to a simmer if you add water. The beans are done when they are tender but still firm. They will keep their shape but should not be chalky.
  2. Roast the Anaheim chiles. Place the 2 chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn the broiler up to high heat and move the oven rack up as high as it will go. Place the chiles directly under the flame and roast for about 7-10 minutes, checking the peppers every 1 minute. Don't walk away! I can't tell you how many times I've had something I'm broiling burst into flames because I forgot about it. Set a timer and stay nearby. After about 3-4 minutes, the skin of the peppers closest to the flame will turn black. Remove from the oven and use tongs to turn the peppers over. Broil the green sides of the peppers until they are black. Rotate again as necessary to make sure all sides of the peppers are roasted and black. Remove from the oven and immediately seal the peppers so they can steam: place them in a sealed ziplock bag, place them in a bowl with plastic wrap tightly over the top, or place them on a flat counter top and place a bowl directly over the top. Just make sure the steam can't escape. Steam for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully peel off the waxy outer layer of skin. Discard the stem, seeds, and membrane. Use a knife to chop the green fleshy roasted chiles into half inch pieces and set aside.
  3. Make the sauce. Chop the raw bacon into bite size pieces. In a 12-inch high-sided skillet, add the bacon and cook over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes until quite crisp. Drain most of the grease from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon bacon grease behind in the pan. (Save the excess bacon grease for making pancakes!)
  4. Add the chopped white onion to the pan with the bacon. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add in the roasted and chopped Anaheim peppers and 4-5 cloves of smashed and minced garlic (about 2 tablespoons).
  5. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 or 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon paprika. Saute for another 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the spices smell toasty.
  6. Add a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 cup water, and 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower to a simmer over about medium low heat, there should be some slow bubbles in the middle of the pan. Let simmer for about 30 minutes until slightly thickened. If your beans in the other pot aren't tender yet, turn off the heat on the sauce while the pot of beans finishes up. 
  7. When the beans in the other pot are nice and tender, drain the beans (but don't you get rid of that bean juice! Hang onto it.) Take out the ham hock, chop up any meat that's left on it and throw it into the sauce.
  8. Add all the beans to the sauce and turn the heat back on to medium. Add the water you saved from cooking the beans a little bit at a time until it is a consistency you like. I actually ended up adding all of my bean juice (or should I say pot lickah!!) but you really need to use your best judgment here. You don't want to water down your beans.
  9. Let the beans simmer in the sauce for a few minutes before devouring! Garnish with sour cream and raw white onions if you want. But please, if you know what's good for you, serve these beans with juicy Grilled Tri Tip!