Red beans and rice



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I shouldn't do this, probably, but here goes.

I'm from south Louisiana. Red beans and rice is a staple of life in my family. I've had red beans from the finest restaurants in New Orleans, to small out-of-the-way places, caterers, etc. Most are not very good. Even in south Louisiana most are not very good. Even here most people havent had good red beans. Chefs.....often get too fancy and ruin things in the process.

So I was going to share with you how to make the best red beans and rice there is. This is one of the finest meals you will eat in terms of comfort food. My yankee NJ italian wife begs for this when we run out. I usually make this in a 22 quart pot and freeze a bunch of it in little containers. But the recipe here will be for a 6 quart pot.

There's 4 secrets to real good red beans. The first is cumin. The second is fat. (Im sorry but if you think you're thinking you're going to eat heart healthy you are not going to eat good beans). Third is ham, 4th is good hickory smoked sausage.

The soft ham fat will completely break down and disappear but it is there and is where all the flavor comes from.

Things you need:

Leftover hambone with meat and fat. In a pinch smoked hocks or even ham steaks can be used. But you need fat. I usually buy a small picnic shoulder for a large pot. Theres a lot of meat, some breaks down but you want most to remain in large fall apart tender soft chunks when done.

2x 16 oz bags red beans
3 med onions...cut into 1/2" cubes
1.5 lb good hickory smoked sausage. I prefer conecuh these days and its sold at most walmarts.

Seems like a lot of sausage...well everyone wants 2 -3 pieces on every goes fast. Always runs out before beans are gone.

1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cayenne. Maybe reduce if you dont like spicy
1 tsp garlic
1 tbs salt
2 tbs cumin

Boil hambone and seasonings for 1 hr in 3.5 qts water
Cool, cut ham and fat off bone. Discard bone.
Cube meat in 3/4" cubes. Save good soft fat. Seperate it from tough skin/ hard outer layer.

Add beans to pot liquid, start boiling low. Its going to take hours, be patient. Put meat aside in refrig for a while. If its in pot it will completely fall apart by time beans are ready.

Take can put some in pot....or..i do a fat smoothie. Put fat in blender with a little water, puree on high. Add about 1/4 cup to pot. It will break down fast after doing this.

After several hours or so beans soften and pulp up. Once its to this point add the meat. Cook for another hour. On low. Beans should break down and make it thick....not watery.

Constant stirring every few minutes. Now meat will fall apart and burn on bottom. Add Water to thin if needed.

Slice sausage into 2- 3" lengths, poke holes in it with fork to let grease out. Put in pot, bring back to boil, simmer 30 min on low stir frequently. If you heat this too fast, or dont stir, you will burn it and ruin pot guaranteed. Nothing burns as easy as this. Keep pot bottom scraped clean....use flat edge spoon to stir.

If you mess up and burn it cause you left it....dont stir it, take as much into another pot as can to save without disturbing the burnt layer on bottom

Serve over rice.

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I'm smoking a whole ham in December for my homebrewer's club holiday dinner. I know that the bone is gonna get saved I just have to decide if I use Martin's or Case's..... decisions, decisions, decisions....

Chris in Louisiana

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That's a good looking pot of beans. Back in the late 80's, I would eat at a cafe in the student union at LSU on Mondays. That's when they served red beans and rice that came with a full link of griddled smoked sausage for a ridiculously cheap price. I want to say it was about $3.

My wife makes the red beans at our house. Everyone has their secret ingredient. Some use a stick of butter to achieve what you did with the ham fat. She uses a local sausage, Down Home Hickory Smoked Sausage, that slow simmers and adds lots of fat and flavor to the pot.

She doesn't do that, but she does add a jar of Pace Picante Sauce (Get a rope!) early on. It sounds crazy, and I would dismiss it if I hadn't eaten it so many times. The salsa cooks down and becomes unrecognizable as the beans simmer. But its ingredients such as onion and peppers add nicely to the flavor of the dish.

For the rice, I like to go with Zatarain's. The LSU cafe ladies served rice that never stuck together in clumps. I couldn't figure out how they did that until I discovered Zatarain's parboiled rice. The grains stay separate.



Dave Mazz

First time I had red beans and rice was at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1985. My wife makes it a couple times a year. Always enjoy the flavor, the texture, and probably eat too much. But when it's so good, it's hard not to.

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I’ve never used “parboiled” rice nor “converted” (a la Uncle Ben’s) rice. As a gentleman I respect very much (and personal heritage) my rice of choice is Thai Jasmine rice.
I have simply never considered it, maybe a shortcoming in my culinary education?
Cook well, be safe, enjoy life!


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I think the best rice out there is Mahatma.... It's extra long grain. A little longer than the long grain in most long grain brands. It's also priced a buck higher for that reason. I probably buy it half the time and half the time pick up a cheaper brand.

That's assuming you don't get into the other kinds of really long rice that are popular in other countries.

I've used minute rice, parboiled rice, boil in the bag rice, pre-cooked vacuum sealed rice ...etc. Nothing compares to long grain rice cooked in a proper rice cooker with the right amount of water....... The texture of rice is important. Besides, theres nothing easier to cook than rice.... If you use a rice cooker.

My grandmother cooked the best rice I ever had. She used Mahatma rice. And she put the rice pot..... In the 350 degree oven with the roast she was cooking. The rice on the walls of the pot would be burnt and crispy...... She loved that that's the part she would eat. The rest of the rice was simply fantastic. Her rice and gravy was really great, My mom could never duplicate it. I had a girlfriend in 1992 whose mom made a roast once whose roast and gravy tasted very close to my grandmothers and I got her recipe from her. Cooked in the pot in the oven like my grandmother did.

I never made it but I still have the recipe.30 yrs later. Still friends on Facebook with her. It starts with flouring the roast and browning it in a skillet, then putting it in the pot in the oven, etc.
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Bob Bailey

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My recipe is similar, but usually with Andouille and lean hickory smoked bacon. I've also used left over pulled pork or smoked buckboard bacon. Great winter warmer and always disappears quickly.

John K BBQ

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The timing of this post is uncanny - I'm just about to pull the trigger on some home made red beans and rice. Cajun/Creole is one of my favorite food categories and I've just about mastered chicken and sausage gumbo. I've made a couple of OK batches of Red Beans and Rice but I have a long ways to go and this thread helps tremendously. I'll take a few pictures if I get a chance while I'm cooking.

Q1: I noticed there is no mention of soaking the beans - I guess in Martin B's recipe you cook the beans for long enough that pre-soaking isn't needed...

Q2: Anything wrong with using ham hocks?


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The timing of this post is uncanny - I'm just about to pull the trigger on some home made red beans and rice. Cajun/Creole is one of my favorite food categories and I've just about mastered chicken and sausage gumbo. I've made a couple of OK batches of Red Beans and Rice but I have a long ways to go and this thread helps tremendously. I'll take a few pictures if I get a chance while I'm cooking.

Q1: I noticed there is no mention of soaking the beans - I guess in Martin B's recipe you cook the beans for long enough that pre-soaking isn't needed...

Q2: Anything wrong with using ham hocks?
You can use ham hocks or even ham steaks in a pinch..
But to be honest you need the ham fat
.... And hickory smoked sausage.....for it to taste really good.
there's nothing heart healthy about good red beans.

Soaking beans overnight just speeds up cooking , I don't do that normally. That is a good way to split it up into two days if you don't have enough time in one day to make it.

The good sausage will make or break it. Andouille is too lean. And being completely honest, no Louisiana sausage iive found is as good for this as hickory smoked alabama sausage. I've had one sausage from Ville Platte that was really good... The brands in the stores aren't as good for this.

Conecuh...... Is the best hickory smoked pork sausage that is widely available out there today. Fortunately it's available at most Walmarts now. It's from south of Birmingham, Conecuh AL.

Louisiana sausage brands like Savoie , Richards, or Manda are good in jambalaya... I prefer Savoies . Andouille is good in gumbo.

Conecuh sausage would be horrible in both of those. It's perfect for red beans..... or with breakfast. It is way more fatty than Louisiana sausages.
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John K BBQ

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I actually mail ordered some andouille from Jacobs in La Place back in November. It was pretty good. Bauman's in St. Louis MO used to make what I thought was good andouille but they changed ownership, and the recipe changed and now it's not my fav. The grind was always smaller than Louisiana style, but they leaned it out way to much and it packs very little heat now, so they're off my list. Stonie's in Perryville MO is makes a more authentic Andouille (similar to Jacobs) - coarsely ground with visible pieces of fat in the sausage and good smoke flavor.

Now, that being said, I'm going to take your advice and use Hickory smoked rather than Anduoille in my next batch of Red Beans. I think I did by some hickory smoked sausage from G&W (another local St. Louis specialist) and will give them a try. G&W's Andouille is good so I'm expecting their hickory smoked to be similar with less spice. G&W's grind is also finer that Jacobs & Stonies...


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It's the amount of fat and the spices and the smoke. It all works great. Also got the right texture... And the right snap to the casing. N And it's more fat than you find in most sausage today. It's also less expensive than most, still running about $5 a pound at Walmart. Whereas local brands may be 6- $7 a pound, and are not as good.


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John K BBQ

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With a little bit of encouragement from y'all, I made my red beans and rice this past weekend. I soaked the beans in a little salt water with cummin over night. And put a two whole hocks and a shank and the beans and salt water in the instant pot, high pressure for 35 minutes.... I took a nap, so the cook time in the instant pot ended up being about an hour and half! I pulled the hoks and shank out and separated all the meat, bones and grissle. While I was tending to that, I diced up about a half pound of fatty bacon, and fried it up in my big ole' dutch oven. Once it was mostly cooked, I dumped all the trinity in there, then cooked it all down for about 15 minutes on medium to medium low heat (I didn't remove ANY bacon fat. Once that trinity was all cooked nice, I put in some hickory smoked sausage, and shredded hok meat, and beans and bean liquid, bay leaves, thyme, ground sage, and cayenne Here's a few pics...

These hoks were really nice! I got them at Baumans meat in Brentwood MO - I'll be back to get more sometime. Very meaty and smoky.

IMG-4344.jpg .

Here is the hok meat after all that time in the pressure cooker with the beans. Easily shredded by hand. I put the bones and shredded meat in the dutch oven to simmer with the trinity and the beans and other seasonings.


Here dat big red pot full o' dem good red beans! You can see a few bay leaves in there if you look hard. Wasn't all that thrilled with my sausage, but the dish overall turned out really creamy and all that shredded hok meat was a big hit with the Fam


Here's my plate - got a little wine there on the side.


Here's the rice I used - folks from Missouri might not know this, but we can grow some pretty good rice in the Southeast corner of the state. Actually, the biggest dirt moving project off all time was not the digging of the panama canal. It was draining the swamps in SE Missouri and turning it into farmland! This is where this bag of rice came from.