$50 Beans

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Yield: 12 servings


  • 1 (10 pound) smoked bone-in ham
  • 1/3 cup coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried epazote (Mexican Tea)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Thoroughly rub down ham with pepper, massaging it into every pore. Let the ham sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate it overnight.
  2. Place ham in a large stockpot. Fill the pot with water to cover the ham by several inches. Let the pot simmer over low heat about half a day, covered, until the meat literally falls apart.
  3. Remove the ham and bone, and reserve meat for another use. Add the pintos and remaining ingredients, except salt, to the broth. Barely simmer the beans for 3 to 4 hours, stirring them occasionally, until they are quite soft but still hold their shape. Add a little more water if the beans begin to look dry. Stir in the salt in the last few minutes of the cooking time. The pintos can be kept warm for another hour, covered, over very low heat.
  4. Serve the beans hot.