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Smoked Charro Beans

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This recipe is for quick and easy Texas-style smoked charro beans. No overnight prep is needed or long hours of cooking time. You’ll have dinner prepped and ready to eat in under 90 minutes. 

Smoked Charro Beans in a serving dish

While these beans originated in Mexico, it is certainly a popular dish in Texas. These perfectly cooked Tex-Mex beans are super flavorful, and we tend to make this in the fall when the weather starts to cool. These charro beans one of our favorite southwestern comfort foods.

What are charro beans made of?

Charro beans, also known as frijoles charro or cowboy beans, is a delicious pinto bean dish nestled in a flavorful broth starting with the Texas trinity (jalapenos, yellow onion, and garlic), chopped bacon, chorizo, beef franks, or ham. It is typically made in a Dutch oven on the stovetop or in a smoker for that added burst, deep, earthy flavor.

What are the best woods to use for charro beans?

Use a mild wood like apple, cherry, or peach. These woods offer a subtle smoke flavor that enhances the delicate broth, beans, and pork products. More robust woods increase the likelihood of bitter tasting charro beans.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cans of pinto beans, drained (6 cups total)
  • Thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Yellow onion
  • Jalapenos or Serranos
  • Fresh garlic
  • Cumin
  • Mexican oregano (sub with marjoram) 
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Beef franks or diced ham 
  • Salt
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
Charro Beans

How to make charro beans in a smoker

  • Prepare your smoker for 250 degrees F. Add wood chunks to the fire 5 minutes before the beans go on. If using a pellet grill, skip this step. 
  • In a cast-iron Dutch oven on your stovetop, cook bacon pieces until slightly browned and have released about 2 tablespoons of grease. Remove bacon pieces, place them into a bowl, and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
  • Next, add the onion and jalapeno to the bacon grease and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat until the onions appear shiny. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often so it does not burn.
  • Add the drained pinto beans to the Dutch oven along with the cumin, Mexican oregano, chicken stock, and chopped meats. 
  • Stir through, remove from the stove, and place the Dutch oven in the smoker, uncovered.
  • Close the smoker’s lid and let the charro beans cook for 1 hour. 
  • After this time, check on the charro beans. It should have reduced a bit and a mild smoke flavor. Taste the beans and season with salt as needed.
  • Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Once cooked to your liking, it’s time to serve. Spoon out your desired amount and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • If making ahead of time, let the charro beans cool completely, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

From scratch option:

Soak 1 pound of dry pinto beans in water for 8-12 hours. Follow the recipe instructions, but use 4 cups broth plus 1-2 cups water (depending on how brothy you’d like). Cook for 2 hours uncovered in your smoker, and finish off on your stovetop over medium-low heat covered for another 1-1 1/2 hours or until the beans are nice and tender.

Recipe additions/alternatives:

  • Want to bring up the smoke flavor? Use 2 jalapenos instead of 3, and add 1 minced chipotle in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce.
  • For tomato lovers, add 1 cup of unsalted chopped tomatoes to the pot right before placing it in the smoker.
Texas style smoked charro beans

What do you serve with smoked charro beans?

If you intend to serve charro beans as the main course, pair them with warmed four or corn tortillas, crusty bread, or garlic-cheese bread. However, if you plan to serve them as a side dish, pair them with your favorite meats like:

Charro Beans

Smoked Charro Beans

This recipe is for quick and easy Texas-style smoked charro beans. No overnight prep is needed or long hours of cooking time. You’ll have dinner prepped and ready to eat in under 90 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Keyword: charro beans, frijoles charros, Texas cowboy beans
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 261kcal

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cans of pinto beans drained (6 cups total)
  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 3 jalapenos seeded and diced (use serrano peppers for a spicier option)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup sliced chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup sliced beef franks or diced ham
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro garnish

Instructions

  • Prepare your smoker for 250 degrees F. Add wood chunks to the fire 5 minutes before the beans go on. If using a pellet grill, skip this step.
  • In a cast-iron Dutch oven on your stovetop, cook bacon pieces until slightly browned and have released about 2 tablespoons of grease. Remove bacon pieces, place them into a bowl, and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
  • Next, add the onion and jalapeno to the bacon grease and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat until the onions appear shiny. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often so it does not burn.
  • Add the drained pinto beans to the Dutch oven along with the cumin, Mexican oregano, chicken stock, and chopped meats.
  • Stir through, remove from the stove, and place the Dutch oven in the smoker, uncovered.
  • Close the smoker’s lid and let the charro beans cook for 1 hour.
  • After this time, check on the charro beans. It should have reduced a bit and a mild smoke flavor. Taste the beans and season with salt as needed.
  • Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Once cooked to your liking, it’s time to serve. Spoon out your desired amount and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • If making ahead of time, let the charro beans cool completely, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 729mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 252IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

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