fyi - Pinto beans are the traditional cowboy beans. And ground beef is used instead of beef jerky.
Don't confuse baked beans with cowboy beans. Even though they both use molasses and mustard, baked beans get their flavor from pork and they are sweeter and thicker than cowboy beans.
Baked beans use Great Northern (navy) beans versus pinto beans. Cowboy beans are made with beef, chili powder is added to season them, and they are soupier.
They are delicious!
This recipe came from Homesick Texan, and it makes a huge batch. Would be good for a big BBQ or potluck.
We served them with many meals -- with ham, and later in burritos. And as a side for baked chicken.
(adapted from Homesick Texan)
Serves a crowd
1 pound dried pinto beans or pink pinquitis
1/2 yellow onion or 1 small whole onion
2 cloves garlic
3 ounces beef jerky, diced
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 T. molasses
2 T. prepared mustard
1 T. chili powder (we prefer Penzey's chili 9000 mix)
salt and pepper
cornstarch, if necessary --- for thickening the liquid
Pick over the beans and remove any debris or small stones. (Always a good practice to go through your beans before you start to soak or cook them.)
In a very large pot, cover the beans with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Drain the beans and rinse.
Our beans were fresh and cooked quickly, and I had added too much water, so I decided to remove the liquid from the pot, put it in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then whisk in a slurry of 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in water, to thicken it, and then return it to the pot.
Add salt and pepper to taste.