Classic Santa Maria-style beans are made with a special variety of pink beans called pinquitos. These 'little pink' beans are prepared in a spicy, smoky, tomato/chili sauce that's spiked with not one, but two kinds of pork. Santa Maria beans have come into my life relatively late, so I plan on making up for lost time this barbecue season.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
2 hrs 15 mins
additional:
8 hrs
total:
10 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place pink beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain.

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  • Place drained beans in a stockpot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook until almost completely tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

  • While beans are simmering, cook and stir bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until cooked through but not crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add ham; cook and stir until ham is heated through, about 1 minute. Stir garlic into ham mixture and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, ketchup, sugar, dry mustard, paprika, chili powder, salt, chipotle chile powder, and oregano. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook until flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

  • Drain beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Combine beans, reserved liquid, and tomato mixture in the beans stockpot; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

344 calories; protein 20.2g 40% DV; carbohydrates 56.4g 18% DV; fat 4.7g 7% DV; cholesterol 9.9mg 3% DV; sodium 838.8mg 34% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (24)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
06/12/2014
If I wasn't married I would be standing up holding a poster board that said Chef John Marry Me!! These were fantastic beans. Not baked beans not pinto beans not any kind of beans I've had before...different yummy beans. YAY! go Chef John go...right now I'm your biggest fan. Read More
(16)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
11/12/2017
ok beans but i lived on the central coast for 30 years and these are not santa maria style beans way too sweet not enough spice Read More
(2)
32 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 24
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
06/12/2014
If I wasn't married I would be standing up holding a poster board that said Chef John Marry Me!! These were fantastic beans. Not baked beans not pinto beans not any kind of beans I've had before...different yummy beans. YAY! go Chef John go...right now I'm your biggest fan. Read More
(16)
Rating: 4 stars
05/15/2014
.Very good starter. We just like more spice. We found it was just a nice tomato flavour. After sampling the way it was intended I tweaked it. I added 1 tblsp of liquid smoke and a tblsp of ancho chili peppers. Next time I will probably double both of these. I will make it again. Thank you Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
03/30/2014
The flavor of these beans was great! I did make a couple changes - I used two cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed, instead of the dried beans. I also skipped the mustard, but added a little tomato paste at the end to thicken the sauce a bit. The chipotle powder adds a nice heat to these! Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/23/2014
These beans are fantastic! I doubled the recipe for a barbeque picnic and used half black beans and half pink beans. I prepared the dry beans and sauce as recipe directs and then used a crock pot on low for 4 hours for the last step (this made it easy to serve them hot for a group). They were perfect with smoked brisket and a salad with cilantro-lime sauce. Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
06/12/2014
My previous attempts at cooking beans have been less than spectacular. I have made this recipe several times with amazing results. I recommend this recipe for any summer social gathering. Sometimes I cook thie recipe on a Sunday to enjoy the rest of the week. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
03/31/2015
Spectacular bean recipe! Finally something a little different for the outdoor grilling season! Three cheers Chef John! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 2 stars
11/12/2017
ok beans but i lived on the central coast for 30 years and these are not santa maria style beans way too sweet not enough spice Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
09/02/2015
Being from the central coast of CA these beans are at every BBQ. And i am so glad to make them at home now and this recipe is great just perfect and thanks for the recipe. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
06/06/2018
OMG OMG OMG OMG! I've had plenty of Santa Maria BBQ, but the beans were never much to write home about. This time, I was making the tri tip and needed the beans to go with it. I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT that I made my beans in the pressure cooker, no soaking in advance. The sauce I made the same (though I did use smoked paprika instead of regular). UNBELIEVABLY good! Had to order more pinquito beans just so I could makes sure to have them on deck at all times! Read More
(2)