Bean Hole Beans
Now, this is a process…Bean Hole Beans take two to three days to create, but they are definitely worth the effort. It’s an old fashioned method, and one that is seen in a lot of different cultures (cooking in heated ground). Since it is up to the individual cook as to what size of container of beans to make, we are presenting this recipe to you as a guide rather than a ‘hard rule.’ This is a great recipe for family reunions or group get-togethers…that way there’s always someone around to watch the fire. I’ve also seen it used to good effect at Girl Scout outings and re-creationist events.
1. You need a good fire pit. The pit needs to be deep enough to hold the container you choose to cook your beans in fairly snugly after it has been lined with rocks.
2. Rock the fire pit. The rocks should probably be at least a couple of inches thick. It doesn’t have to be special rock…just rock that can be used to line the hole. These rocks are what are going to do the actual cooking. Make sure you have a good thick, solid, flat rock for the bottom. Make sure the bottom is fairly level or your beans will spill.
Firewood cut to fit into the cooking hole – a good bit of it
Cast Iron dutch oven (other types can be used, but we always did it with cast iron)
Mixture of your favorite beans (read the package…many beans require that they be soaked overnight to soften them for cooking…). Pinto,
kidney, red, etc. We normally did a mix. There are some great “pre-mixed” bean mixes on the market today too.
Brown Sugar – from 2 Tblsp to 2 cups…how sweet do you like them?
Molasses – from 2 Tblsp to ½ cup…go easy, but sure helps the flavor
Mustard – we used specialty mustards to give it extra zing
Ketchup – ¼ to 1 cup depending on your tastes – the more ketchup, the “sharper” the flavor
Onion – chopped fine and lightly sautéed until golden in color
Garlic – pressed or chopped fine – a little goes a LONG way!
1. Soak your beans (be very careful about the salt issue – read the bean bag) Soaking usually is done overnight.
2. Start a fire in the fire pit early in the day you start the beans to soak. Keep the fire going all day and stoke it with green wood during the night so that it retains its heat. (We used to sit shifts on who was watching the fire.)
3. The next morning keep the fire going good and hot while you combine all your ingredients. Rinse the beans, add all the other ingredients and mix well. If needed, add a little extra water so that the mixture is thin. (You won’t be stirring during the cooking process so make sure you mix and stir the ingredients very well.) Seal the container (we put a double aluminum foil “seal” around the lid).
4. Around noon, allow the fire to burn down to coals. Spread the coals around the hole evenly. Place the bean pot down into the firepit. Fill in the hole (there shouldn’t be much fill in…the hole should be made to just fit the bean pot after lining it with rock). This is the hard part – keep a watch for fire, but leave it alone overnight.
5. The next day (it should remain undisturbed for at least 12 hours), dig up the hole. The rocks, which had become super-heated from the fire in the hole, retain their heat and transfer it to the bean pot. Think of this as your “mother–earth slow cooker” recipe. If the beans have cooled, you
can easily warm them up on the stove, but I never remember having to do it…Dad always had to use the poker and hot pads to get the pot out of the hole!