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Chuck Taggart's New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Chuck Taggart’s New Orleans Red Beans and Rice


Units Scale
  • Pickled Pork:
  • 2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 quart distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked (not smashed)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 peppercorns
  • ***
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, dry
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 ribs celery, chopped
  • As much garlic as you like, minced (I like lots, 5 or 6 cloves)
  • 1 large smoked ham hock, 3/4 pound of Creole-style pickle meat (pickled pork), or 3/4 lb. smoked ham, diced, for seasoning – TFD enjoys a combo of smoked ham and pickle meat, to a total of 3/4 pound
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds mild or hot smoked sausage or andouille, sliced on the bias
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • As many dashes Crystal hot sauce or Tabasco as you like, to taste
  • A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Creole seasoning blend, to taste; OR,
  • red pepper and black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh Creole hot sausage or chaurice, links or patties, grilled or pan-fried, one link or patty per person (optional)
  • Pickled onions (optional but recommended)
  • ***
  • 23 pounds tiny yellow onions (up to 1 inch diameter)
  • 1 gallon cool water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet basil
  • 6 small bay leaves
  • 1 quart distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons liquid crab boil
  • 2 drops red food coloring (optional)


  1. For the pickled onions:
  2. Peel the onions and place in a glass or plastic container — not metal! Mix the water and salt, pour over the onions and let soak overnight.
  3. The next day, take clean canning jars and sprinkle some of the red pepper, basil and bayleaf on the bottom. Pack the onions to ⅓ level, then repeat in layers.
  4. When the jars are packed, mix the vinegar, water, crab boil and food coloring (if desired) and pour over onions. Cap the jars and refrigerate for at least one week before using. If you increase the amount you’re making, just maintain a 3:1 ratio of vinegar to water.
  5. For the Pickled Pork:
  6. Combine everything except the pork in a non-reactive saucepan and boil for three minutes. Cool and place in a refrigerator container (plastic, glass or stainless-steel) and add the pork. Stir to remove bubbles. Cover and refrigerate for three days.
  7. For the Red Beans and Rice:
  8. It’s not necessary to soak the beans overnight, but you can if you want to. If you do, drain the water and cover the beans with a double volume of fresh water in the pot. (This helps reduce the, um, flatulence factor.) Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart.
  9. While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock (or ham or pickle meat), smoked sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Adjust seasonings as you go along. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn’t burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot. (If the beans are old — say, older than six months to a year — they won’t get creamy. Make sure the beans are reasonably fresh. If it’s still not getting creamy, take 1 or 2 cups of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir.)
  11. If you can … let the beans cool, stick them in the fridge, and reheat and serve for dinner the next day. They’ll taste a LOT better. When you do this, you’ll need to add a little water to get them to the right consistency.
  12. Serve generous ladles-ful over hot white long-grain rice, with good French bread and good beer. I also love to serve grilled or broiled fresh Creole hot sausage or chaurice on the side. Do not serve with a canned-beet salad, like my Mom always used to do. (Sorry, Mom … try something interesting with fresh beets and we’ll talk. :^)
  13. I like serving a few small pickled onions with my red beans — I chop them up and mix them in with the beans. It’s great! Why does it taste so good? As my sister’s friend (and dyed-in-the-wool New Orleanian) Cherie Valenti would say … “It’s da vineguh!”