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Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans

Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans

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Inspired by Mexican Frijoles Charros and traditional Baked Beans, my Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans (almost sometimes called Ranchero Beans) have smokey and rich in flavor. However, these beans are not as sweet as Baked Beans but have all the spice of Chili Beans.  They make a fantastic stand-alone meal or pair them with protein of your choice in limitless combinations.  They also freeze quite well. The beans can be made in a slower cooker, Instant Pot (pressure cooker), or stovetop.  Additionally, they can be made on a grill or in the oven.  The oven will mimic a slow cooker, and the grill can stand in for a stove. 
Charros are Mexican cowboys, one of the original horsemen, and frijoles is Spanish for beans. Furthermore, My Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans are a cross been between baked beans and chili beans.  They differ from Frijoles Charros with the addition of molasses and bell pepper.  The meat used can vary in the original but bacon, ham, and or chorizo are comma.   In addition to bacon,  I use leftover Tri-Tip and Beef Brisket.   Now, if you do not have any leftover brisket and Tri-Tip laying around, you can always make this with all bacon.
Initially, I had planned to post my recipe for Chicken Nachos instead; however, I used four recipes to bring the nachos to life. I have posted my Guacamole and Pico de Gallo recipes; Cowboy Beans and Poached Whole Chicken are the final two. 

The Beans

Now it is time to make the  Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans. After 8 hours, I drained the beans, added garlic, dried oregano (Mexican), onions, jalapeno, bell pepper, bacon, Tri-Tip, Beef Brisket, cumin, pepper, chili powder, and molasses.  Set the slow cooker to low and cook for eight hours. Alternatively, you can put them in a big ole pot, bring them to a boil, drop the heat, simmer and cook for 2-3 hours until tender but not broken.  Yep, I forgot to take a pic of this stage.  
I like using dried beans for this dish which requires a four to eight hour/overnight soak in water.  There are a couple of quick soaking methods such as the one on the How to Cook Dried Beans guide from Serious Eats. There is a bit of debate about whether or not the beans are to be salted during the cooking process. I am a little old school and I do not salt the bean until they are starting to get tender at the time I also add the tomato.
Alternatively, using canned beans instead of dried will shorten the recipe time since there will be no soaking involved. Try to use no salted added canned beans.  I prefer using pinto beans but black beans or a mix of the two are great as well.  Reduce the simmering time to thirty minutes.  No slow cooker would needed to make these Slow Cooker Cowboy beans when used canned beans. To 

The Protein

If you do not have any leftover tri-tip or brisket stated in the Slower Cooker Cowboy Beans, you can easily sub in pulled chicken, pork, or jackfruit. Also, leftover carne asada and or carnitas would be excellent as well.  I have seen other recipes that use ham, chorizo, and soyrizo—of course, using the pre-cook versions in the meat section work very well. 

These beans are easily veganized.  You can sub in your favorite plant-based meat substitutes or omit the meat altogether.  If you do not use any replacement, be sure to add smokey elements such as smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and or chipotles. Diced mushrooms or mushroom powder can provide hardiness. 

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