Cowboy Beans

Oh yeah, pardner! You’ll take to these cowboy beans like a horse takes to water! You’ll think you’re out on the prairie sitting by the chuck wagon after a long day of rustling steer. Pinto beans in a sauce of coffee and BBQ sauce, the smoky goodness of a ham shank, and plenty of your favorite toppings. These cowboy beans don’t have to be a side dish, they’re a meal by themselves.
Cowboy BeansYou won’t be learning anything while you’re eating these cowboy beans. Why is that? Well, because like the old cowboy saying goes, “you ain’t learning while your mouth’s a jawwin'”. Or something like that. You certainly won’t be telling a long tale about the calf you saved down by Dry Gulch. You’ll be too busy eating. You will be telling the chuck wagon cook that he’s a genius, though.

Also try my easy baked beans and smoked sausage and my delicious enchilada beans.

Cowboy Beans

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 smoked ham shank or hock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups brewed black coffee
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Chopped roasted jalapenos chopped red onion and shredded cheese (for garnish)


  • Place the beans into a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with 1" of water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Drain and reserve the beans.
  • Add the oil to the pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring, until just starting to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another 1 minute.
  • Add the beans back into the pot along with the ham shank, water, coffee and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or longer until the beans are just soft.
  • Stir in the BBQ sauce and cover again and continue to simmer until the meat falls away from the ham shank bone, about 2 hours.
  • Remove the shank and remove any meat. Chop and return the meat to the pot, stirring.
  • Serve hot with chopped roasted jalapenos, chopped red onion and shredded cheese.

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