Bean-Hole Stew

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 20 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 12 hr
  • Cook: 8 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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2 pounds navy beans, soaked overnight

2 medium onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, chopped

1 smoked ham hock

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons dry mustard

3 tablespoons hot sauce

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


  1. Dig a hole in the ground 3 feet deep and line it with rocks. Build a fire in the hole and let it burn down to large embers and ash. (This can take half a day before enough coals are produced to cook the beans properly.).
  2. Put the beans into an 8-quart cast iron pot and add all the other ingredients. Add enough water to cover the beans and give it a good stir. Put the lid on and wrap the edge of the lid with aluminum foil to prevent dirt and ashes from getting into the pot. Place the pot in the hole. Shovel some of the embers and ashes on top of the pot and cover it with dirt. Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Dig up the pot, brush off the dirt and ashes, and remove the lid. Be sure to wear oven mitts or leather gloves, as the pot will still be very hot.
  3. Alternately, the beans can be cooked in a slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours.