Mom’s Savory Pork ‘n’ Beans #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on September 2, 2012

savory pork and beans

It all began with a leftover ham bone and a hungry husband. At least that’s how my mom tells it. My dad suggested cooking the ham bone with some beans, and my mom built this dish around it. The rest, I guess, is history. This week my friends in the #SundaySupper group are hosting a virtual cookout to celebrate Labor Day. What better dish to bring than my Mom’s Savory Pork ‘n’ Beans?

For many, the mention of pork and beans conjures up images of a sweet and tangy pot of beans, maybe even with bits of hot dog floating about, but we’re not going there today. This bean dish is savory and satisfying–hardy cowboy fare. The history is unclear, but it’s well settled that by the mid-19th century variations of pork and beans were popping up in American kitchens. While Van Camp sold its salt pork and beans with stewed tomatoes to the US Army during the Civil War, it wasn’t until Heinz started canning them in the 1880s that they really took off.

It’s unclear where all that sugar came in, but we’ll have none of that here. My mom’s version is smoky, with the flavors of the tomatoes, chili powder, and white wine melding together in complete harmony. In our family, that’s how it’s done. In fact, similar bean dishes have been part of our family barbeques since the beginning of time. One of the things I miss most since the family home was sold are the gatherings we had there. The house had been in our family for nearly a century, and it was the one place we all returned, like homing pigeons, whether there was a party going on or just to drop in and say hello.

Now, in case you’re picturing a few folks gathered around a Weber, let’s be clear. This Italian family is BIG! My uncle had built a big brick barbecue pit in the backyard, and this is how we rolled:

joe's chicken

Yep, all those chickens are for one family, grilled to perfection with our family’s secret BBQ sauce (which, by the way, is not sweet either). Just call us the savories.

Now, on to the beans. While I’m using smoked ham hocks here today, keep in mind this is a great dish to make with a leftover ham bone, and in fact, that’s how I prefer it. You’ll get more meat that way too. Also, this can be prepared on the stove top; however, my preference is using a crock pot–it’s less work, and it’ll be contained in its own warming dish at your shindig! By the way, this dish is super easy to make.

pork and beans 1

First, place your beans (which have been soaked over night) in the slow cooker along with the ham hocks, and add enough water to just cover the beans. In my pot, this was about three cups. Cover and cook on “high” for one hour.

pork and beans ingredients

Next, gather and prep the remaining ingredients. Yep, that’s my messy writing in my personal cookbook.

chopped bell pepper

Give the bell pepper, onion and garlic a good chop.

onions and bell pepper saute

Add olive oil to your skillet, then sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper until the onion is translucent.

veggie sauteed with spices

Next add the chili powder and herbs, and toss until heated through.

pork and bean pot

Has it been an hour since you put the beans on? If so, add the sautéed veggie mixture to the crock pot.

crock pot before

Now add in the remaining ingredients–tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and white wine. Give a good stir, then cover, reduce heat to “low” and cook for an additional six hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Remove the ham hocks (or bone) from the pot. I know, this looks pretty gross! Remove any meat from the bone, chop it up, and return to the pot.

bowl of pork and beans

Serve piping hot with a crusty loaf of French bread. Enjoy!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Mom's Savory Pork 'n' Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These savory pork and beans are a crowd pleaser and super easy to prepare.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10-12
  • 1 lb pink beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz can Mexican stewed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup white wine (I use Rossi Chablis)
  1. Place ham bone in large crock pot along with beans.
  2. Fill with water until beans are just covered.
  3. Cover, set on "high" and cook one hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sauté onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add herbs, chili powder and pepper just to heat through.
  5. To the crock pot, add onion mixture along with the remaining ingredients. Stir, cover and reduce to "low" cooking another 6 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.


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