Cowboy Beans & Sausage

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I adapted this recipe from the Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook Frijoles Charros recipe. This cookbook has been a staple in our family for three years now. I bought it during a period of financial difficulty and have not had any regrets. Slow cookers can greatly reduce the weekly grocery budget in addition to allowing you to “set it and forget it” but still have a meal at the end of the day. If you were to flip through my copy of the book, you would find I have a star rating system and my own adjustments written in to all recipes we have tried.

The original recipe called for chorizo and bacon. I substituted for those with a Turkish beef sausage I prefer, and some beef bacon. I also tweaked the seasonings to suit my family’s palate.

No slow cooker?

If you don’t have a slow cooker,  I used it 3-4 times per week. It’s perfect because you can saute in it (many recipes are improved by that) and then add your remaining ingredients, set and forget!

Okay. Ready to give it a try? Yeehaw!

Cowboy Beans & Sausage


  • 1 lb dried pinto beans
  • 6-8 cups water beans should be completely covered, and you may need more depending on your slow cooker or hydration method
  • 2 jalapenos sliced
  • 5 cloves chopped or 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz soujouk* the Medawar Medium is my favorite
  • 4 strips beef bacon again, Medawar is the best
  • 1 small yellow or white onion chopped
  • 2 tsp salt or to your taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  • You can soak the beans overnight and drain in the morning, or follow the Quick Soak instructions on the package. I prefer the Quick Soak method because I find it makes cooking to the correct doneness more predictable, and I don’t have to think that far ahead. 🙂
  • Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to combine and cook on HIGH 3.5-4 hours. Switch to LOW and cook uncovered for 1 hour to thicken sauce. Beans should be firm and not falling apart.
  • Serve over rice and with cheese if desired. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro to be mixed in toward the end. We don’t eat much cilantro, but if you like it, I would try adding it in.


We made this once with a Louis Rich Turkey Sausage (no casing) and no bacon. Because the sausage wasn’t spicy, I added 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I pulled them out before serving, but some of the spiciness remained. The adobo sauce is the real secret here. If you can’t find a spicy sausage, just add it in-at least 2 teaspoons. It does a remarkable job of bringing that smokey, spicy sausage flavor to each dish. I did find that the dish needed less water because of the significantly reduced fat content.

Finally, this is one of those slow cooker dishes that only gets better the longer you keep it in your fridge. I recommend refrigerating for three to five days, then enjoying a second time. It’s a dish that you could actually pull out and serve to guests without feeling like it’s leftovers because you did them a favor by saving it in the first place.

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