Charro Beans

Frijoles charros or "cowboy beans"

Technically, since I added beer to the recipe, these are frijoles borrachos. This Christmas I threw the ingredients I had together and came out with a very good tasting side of charro beans to go along with homemade tamales. A coworker and I had been talking and she told me her grandmother is from somewhere in Sinaloa, Mexico. She now lives here in Minnesota and makes homemade tamales every weekend and also for Christmas. Well, since I've spent about 5 years in Minnesota now, any mention of Sinaloa and homemade tamales entirely removed any decision-making process I might have been struggling with regarding what to serve for dinner on Christmas night; problem solved! My larder was getting quite thin because we'd had family over for dinner on Christmas Eve so I wasn't able to put everything in the pot that I would have liked, but the following did the trick. The nice-to-have-had ingredients are listed below the recipe.

For a great traditional charro recipe, check out Isabel Eats:


  • 12 Oz. can undrained Trader Joe's Pintos
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 2 beef franks, cubed
  • 1/2 Lb sweet Italian sausage or chorizo
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder*
    • 1 Tbsp cumin*
  • 3 Tbsp pico de gallo
  • 1 Tbsp masa, (corn flour)
  • 1 Tbsp + water or oil/lard (see instructions below)
  • Chipotle pepper with adobo sauce - how brave are you?
  • Cotija cheese
  • Cilantro

What To Do With Them

  • Empty can of pinto beans into a saucepan
  • Add beer and beef franks
  • Heat a skillet and add sausage or chorizo. *If you're using Italian sausage add the chili powder and cumin now. If you're using chorizo you don't need the spices.
  • Once the sausage or chorizo is cooked add it to beans along with the pico de gallo.
  • As a thickening agent, you can either mix the masa with a little water to make a slurry, or to bring some more flavor in, you can make up a roux in the pan you cooked the sausage in using the masa and an equal amount of oil. Cook over medium-high heat just until the flour darkens a little and you can smell corn cooking. Remove from heat and stir until roux cools, then carefully stir it into the beans.
  • Serve charros in bowls topped with cotija and cilantro, you can add avocado, mango, papaya, etc., etc. Be creative!

Nice to have had...

  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Jalapeños
  • Oregano