The only way to get that authentic New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice is to add pickled pork to the pot. The unique flavor and texture will add a depth of flavor that you’ll find only in southern Louisiana. Until now.
In 2018 a friend of mine in New Orleans mentioned that I should try adding pickled pork to my pot of beans. Not being from southern Louisiana I never quite knew what it was. Pickled pork? Did it have a dill pickle type of flavor to it? Of course not. But the process of making homemade pickled pork seems daunting, right?
Time went on and I never thought much of the recipe he told me about, which was the 7-Day Pickled Pork recipe from the Camellia Beans website. Then recently, I was talking to Sam Williams of Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and he mentioned that he added pickled pork to his red beans.
I did a search online to see about ordering some, which is just under $8.00 on Cajun Grocer for a one-pound package of Savoie’s. But when I went to checkout, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the price of shipping on a perishable item. It’s not cheap. What else isn’t cheap for me is driving down to New Orleans to buy a pack or two since it’s an ingredient predominantly sold in southern Louisiana and nowhere else (though I would in a heartbeat).
I brought up the recipe on the Camellia Beans website, bought the ingredients I needed, and went to work. To see the full process of steps, with pictures, you can click over to the article ‘How to Make Pickled Pork for Your Beans‘. But let me tell you, it’s far cheaper to make a homemade batch – which is about four pounds worth of meat – then it is to order it online for a one-pound package. Plus, the homemade pickled pork will only cost about $20, if not less. And remember, that’s making four pounds of it.
After eating the first pot with pickled pork, I thought of Big Sam (Sam Williams: How Do You Red Bean?) and what I had been missing. The pickled pork seemed to somewhat melt into the gravy of the beans and you get a bottom end vinegar flavor that is deeper and more flavorful than just adding in a spoonful of vinegar at the end.
You can add Pickled Pork to any red bean recipe. You can simply sub-out different meat, or, you can also include pickled pork and it will only enhance the flavor of your final bean dish. I created a different red bean recipe than I normally make while trying to find a good balance with the tangy vinegar flavor, a hint of smokiness, and a little kick of heat.
This New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork is the recipe that I came up with and I think it’s outstanding. For the past few weeks, I’ve been serving this recipe to family members who have come into town to help us with the new baby and they all love it. And look at those Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings! (Recipe is coming soon! I’ve been getting lots of messages about them so stay tuned.)
Have you cooked with pickled pork and included it in your pot of red beans? If so, tell me what you thought about it in the comment section below. You can also message me on social media @RedBeansAndEric. If you make this recipe, please tag me so I can see it.
One thing 2020 has taught us, is the importance of community. Red Beans and Rice is a dish that is meant to be shared with others. I think we’re not going to take that for granted again. I’ve started a ‘Red Bean‘ community on Facebook, and I invite you to join along. There, you can share tips and tricks and photos of your bean dishes. You can find the Red Beans and Eric Community Page here. Thank you!
New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork
- 2 tbsp rendered bacon grease about 4 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Creole Seasoning
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ red pepper
- ½ white pepper
- 8 cups water or chicken stock enough to cover the beans
- 1 lbs CAMELLIA DRIED RED BEANS soaked
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 1 lbs PICKLED PORK see recipe below
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ½ cup green onions chopped
- salt to taste
- cooked long-grain white rice
- chopped green onions to garnish
- hot sauce to offer at the table
Soak the red beans overnight. Rinse before using.
In a large pot over MEDIUM heat, begin by cooking the chopped pieces of bacon to render the fat. Once there is about 2 tablespoons worth of fat, add the onions, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot and continue to stir until the onions have become translucent.
Add the red beans, ham hock, pickled pork, bay leaves, and seasonings to the pot, then carefully pour in the water or chicken stock. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Occasionally stir the beans so they don't stick and scorch the bottom of the pot. Allow the beans to simmer for two or more hours or until they reach the creaminess that you like. During this time, if the beans get too thick, add more liquid.
Once they are at your desired consistency, stir in the Worcestershire sauce, chopped green onions, and chopped fresh parsley. You can also adjust the flavoring at this point, as well. Add salt, more Creole Seasoning, pepper, or add a few shakes of your favorite Louisiana-style hot sauce (though I prefer to offer that at the table since everyone has a different tolerance to the heat).
To serve, place hot cooked long-grain white rice in a bowl, cover with the red beans, and garnish with more chopped green onions. Serve this New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork with Louisiana-style hot sauce and warm buttered French bread.
Seven Day Pickled Pork
- 4 lbs pork shoulder roast
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 5 cups water
- 1 large onions sliced
- 1 head garlic separated, peeled & crushed
- 3 tablespoons mustard seed
- 2 bay leaves
First, trim the pork shoulder of any excess fat. Cut the pork into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the rub: brown sugar, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Have 2 large ziplock bags ready (and make sure there are no holes in the bags since we'll be adding the brine to it). In small handfuls, dip the pork into the rub and make sure that they are lightly coated, then shake off any excess. Repeat this until all of the pork chunks have been coated. Then, set aside and let stand for about two hours for the pork to get to room temperature and the salt rub to kick in.
In a large saucepot, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sliced onions, garlic, mustard seed, and bay leaves, and over MEDIUM-HIGH heat, bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the burner, set the pan aside, and let it cool down.
Once the pork has sat for two hours and the brine is now cool to the touch, carefully pour the liquid into the two ziplock bags. Once all the liquid is in the ziplock bags, squeeze out as much air as you possibly can and tightly seal the bags. To avoid any messy spills or mishaps, place the bags in a large bowl and refrigerate. The pork will sit here for 7 days, but you need to flip the bags once a day.
After 7 days, remove the pork from the brine. I separated the pork into four 1-pound bags. It will last two weeks in the fridge, so, keep out what you plan on using right away and freeze the rest until their time has come.
This recipe is from the Camellia Beans website. For their detailed directions on preparing this recipe, go to their website at https://www.camelliabrand.com/recipes/seven-day-pickled-pork.
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Keep the red beans cookin’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.