Ingredients & Preparation

Santa Maria–Style Pinquito Beans

Active Time: 55 MINTotal Time2 HR 50 MIN
Yield: Serves : 6

Stewed pinquito beans enriched with bacon and ham are a classic element of Santa Maria–style barbecue, traditionally served alongside grilled tri-tip and a fresh salsa. This recipe, from The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang, California, has layers of smoky heat from ancho chile powder and Anaheim chile. Perfectly tender and seasoned all the way through, these Santa Maria–Style Pinquito Beans are the perfect partner for Oak-Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri or oaky, wood-grilled Traditional “Santa Maria BBQ” Tri-Tip and Mild Tomato Salsa. Pinquito beans, a small pink bean that’s native to California, are the classic bean for this dish; you can order dried dried pinquitos grown near Alisal Ranch from, or substitute small white beans, such as navy beans.


  • 1 pound dried pinquito beans (such as Lompoc)
  • 2 cups diced applewood-smoked bacon (from 9 bacon slices)
  • 1 cup diced white onion (from 1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup seeded and diced roasted Anaheim chile (from 1 large chile)
  • 1/2 cup diced smoked fully cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

How to Make It

Step 1    

Rinse and sort beans. Place beans in a large, heavy pot. Cover with cold water, and soak 8 hours or up to overnight. Drain beans, and return to pot. Add cold water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a simmer over medium, and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes, adding hot water as needed to keep beans covered by about 1 inch.

Step 2    

While beans simmer, cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add onion, Anaheim chile, ham, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add salt, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, dry mustard, and paprika, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spices smell toasted, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato puree, 1 cup water, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Step 3    

Drain beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return beans and reserved cooking liquid to pot; stir in sauce. Simmer over low until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes.

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