Better than canned by a long shot…
Sure, you need some planning, but homemade ranch style beans are a world better than what you’ll pick up in a can. Most of the recipe is slow cooker time and the prep is mainly rehydrating your pinto beans and ancho peppers, so the effort needed for this recipe is actually very little. And you’ll love the output on the other side. A little sweet, a little smoky, and a whole lot of earthy goodness. There are so many spices here, from cumin and rosemary to a few dashes of liquid smoke.
Ranch style beans are a delicious barbecue side, but don’t ignore them as a hearty lunch in their own right. Layer it over rice for more of a meal. You can also add in various meats to add more heartiness. Both ground beef and ground sausage work.
If you like this hearty ranch style beans recipe, don’t miss some of our bean-based sides from our spicy recipe index. Homemade Texas caviar pairs black beans with plenty of Tex-Mex vegetable favorites (corn, avocado, and more!). Or check out this spicy cowboy beans recipe. It uses plenty of ham steak, salted pork, and jalapeño pepper to really amp up your barbecue side game.
- 1 package dried pinto beans 16 ounces
- 6 ancho peppers destemmed and deseeded
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 tomatoes diced (medium sized)
- 4 cups beef broth (32 ounces)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the beans (choose one of the following)
- Quick soak (1 hour): Rinse the beans, then place them in a pot. Cover them with water, then bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and cover. Keep covered for 1 hour, then rinse the beans with cool water.
- Long soak (6 to 8 hours): Rinse the pinto beans then place them in a glass bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for 6 to 8 hours to rehydrate (overnight works well).
Rehydrate the ancho peppers
- Boil a pot of water.
- Halve the ancho peppers lengthwise.
- In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the ancho halves (no oil), for 2 minutes per side, using a spatula to place pressure on the chilies to increase skin bubbling on the pepper.
- Place the ancho halves into a glass bowl, then pour the boiling water over the halves until the peppers are covered completely.
- Soak the anchos for 30 minutes to rehydrate, then use.
Make the sauce
- In a saucepan, heat olive oil then sauté the yellow onions until translucent. Add the minced garlic and stir often for 1 minute.
- Transfer the onions and garlic to a blender. Add the ancho peppers, tomatoes, all the spices, liquid smoke, cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup water. Blend until the sauce is smooth.
Slow cook the beans
- Place the soaked pinto beans, beef stock, and blended ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Set the slow cooker on high and cover. Cook for approximately 2 hours (until the sauce is simmering).
- Stir the beans, then recover and set the slow cooker to low. Continue to cook on low for 3 hours.
- Add salt, pepper, and additional seasonings to taste, then serve.