Frijoles charros are traditionally made with bacon, but variations use chorizo, ham and beef. The meat I love to flavor a pot of beans is smoked pork hocks.


1 pound pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons lard
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 serrano chiles, minced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork hocks
1 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
lime wedges and crumbled Cotija cheese


Step 1
Drain and rinse the soaked pinto beans and set aside.

Step 2
Heat lard in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in onion and chilis. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and just starts to turn brown on the edges, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 3
Add minced garlic and continue stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to break down and form a chunky sauce, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Step 4
Add beans, hocks, chicken stock, kosher salt, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the hocks to cool, and discard the bay leaves.

Step 5
Increase the heat to a low boil and let the beans cook, uncovered, until broth has reduced and thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Step 6
Once hocks are cool enough to handle, remove skin and excess fat. Shred the meat with a fork and stir, along with the chopped cilantro, into the beans. Season to taste with additional salt, and serve.