“Pork Neck Bones & Beer Beans” Just typing those words together makes us feel butch-er. Speaking of which, next time you go to the grocery store, you should talk to yours. (Your butcher, that is.) Chances are he has a pile of neck bones somewhere stashed away in the back. They’re as underused as they are inexpensive. While they lack in meat, they make up for in flavor. The meat that they do have is tender and sweet (as the saying goes: “the meat is always sweetest next to the bone,) but the stock made from them is tremendously rich.
We use neck bone stock from our pigs all winter long to flavor our slow cooked dried beans. We also add a bottle of beer, because, if you can add a bottle of beer to anything, why wouldn’t you? As the stock and the beans cook all day long, the house fills with a fantastically rich smell – one that belies the overall cost of the meal, which is less than $.95 per person. (And that’s WITH the beer.)
This is definitely an all-day recipe. (Actually it also takes the night before to soak the beans.) But the process is very simple, and the results are worth it. Watch how we make ours in the slide show, and get the recipe below:
Beekman 1802 Pork Neck Bones & Beer Beans
1 lb dried beans. Navy, or any light variety.
Approx 3lbs of fresh pork bones (Not smoked.)
2 medium onions, cut in quarters
2 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
1 Tablespoon of dried rosemary (or 1.5 Tablespoons fresh, finely chopped)
2 teaspoons whole pepper cloves
2 bay leaves
1 bottle of medium or dark beer
Salt to taste
1 bunch Fresh flat-leafed parsley for garnish, chopped.
Night before: Place beans in large bowl, picking out any small stones or discolored beans. Cover with several inches of cool water. (Beans can soak up to three times their volume.) Remove any beans that float. Soak overnight. In morning, drain beans.
Heat oven to 350F. Wash and rinse neck bones. Place bones on elevated rack in large roasting dish. Roast approximately 45 minutes until meat is brown. Remove from oven, let cool. Once cool to touch, use fingers to remove meat, discarding any fat and cartilage. Reserve meat.
Place bones, onions, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves in large, oven proof, lidded soup pot. Pour in beer. Add enough water to cover bones. Return pot to oven and cook for 3 hours, with lid. Remove. Strain and reserve all liquid through fine steel mesh. Discard bones and other solids.
Add drained, soaked beans to pot. Return strained stock. Liquid should cover beans by 2-3 inches. If it doesn’t, add more water. Cover and return to oven. (If there seems to be too much stock, return pot to over without cover to speed evaporation.) Cook beans anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours. Check for done-ness after 1 hour. If all liquid has been absorbed, but beans aren’t yet tender, simply add more water.
After beans are cooked tender, stir in cooked pork neck meat scraps. Serve hot, in bowls, with parley garnish, and side of buttered bread