Dried Beans

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yields

    5 cups

    cooked beans

Appears in

Dried beans are an important winter staple in the southern diet. Pintos and black-eyed peas are the most frequently encountered, but white beans, October beans, “shelly” beans, and many others are also used. Simple cooking is the rule: a piece of pork fat, a pepper pod, and lots of water. Cooked dried beans usually get some kind of contrasting garnish at the table—a spoonful of chow-chow or freshly chopped onion. To almost all southerners, black or white, rich or poor, a bowl of hot pintos, cornbread, and a glass of cold buttermilk is a simple but complete meal.


  • 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 g) pork sidemeat
  • 1 red pepper pod
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water
  • 2 cups (475 ml) dried beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Recommended Equipment

A 3-quart (3 L) saucepan.


Cut the sidemeat into 4 or 5 pieces and put in a saucepan with the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are tender and any taste of raw starch is dissipated. Cooking time will vary from 1 to 2 or more hours depending upon the kind of bean.