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Party for a Pirate – Tex-Mex Dry Rub London Broil & Charro Pinto Beans

Ahoy, maties.

During Golden Age of Pirates, 1650-1725, Pirates cooked fresh, dried and salted meat and dried beans with onions, garlic, herbs and spices (sometimes a lot of herbs and spices) aboard their ships and in ports of call.

Like some Pirates’ lives at sea, modern Road Trips are all about freedom and adventure: all things new in a short time span. At 20, I left my home State of Iowa for the Great State of Texas to visit an old high school friend in Houston. And was introduced to the real Tex-Mex: the fusion of American and Mexican food.

I visited other friends in El Paso and Austin, TX and experienced chalupas, tostadas, tacos, rice and beans, fresh jalepenos.  All new, exciting, delicioso, picante, and worthy of every minute of cooking time preparing this excellent contribution to the American melting pot. Mexican and Tex-Mex are the first foods I cooked that were highly spiced.

And remember that Pirates sailed to eastern ends of the Gulf of Mexico, traded, raided, and started settlements.

Here are several healthy comfort food recipes to enjoy cooking and sharing. They are on my list of Best Tex-Mex Recipes. BBQ grilled Tex-Mex steak using a London broil, charro pinto beans, and the best cast iron skillet cornbread recipe. Mmmmmm. Are you feelin’ Texan?

Tex-Mex – The Most Loved Cuisine in Texas

Yes, doubters, Tex-Mex Cuisine is real. Texas-Mexican food fusion at its finest. It grew out of the Mexicans who have lived in Texas since the 1500’s and adapted their food to the local ingredients and American tastes. Americans loved the food and it’s part of Texas heritage. It’s delicous comfort food with its roots in authentic Mexican food recipes. Rice, beans, pork, beef, chicken, fish, tortillas, cervesas, queso, onion, garlic, and chili peppers. You can ‘modernize’ some of the ingredients to make the food healthier.

You can blend a whole Texas BBQ into Tex-Mex like I did here. I love to be cooking all day on Sunday. Coffee aroma. Charcoal grill. Simmering broth. Cut garlic. This is for a lazy Sunday with family and friends. Invite someone to help with the prep.

Charro Pinto Beans

So many of my favorite healthy Tex-Mex recipes are about beans. Cook up these Charro Pinto Beans instead of your traditional baked beans. Charro is a Mexican word for Cowboy. So, these are Cowboy beans. Kind of like a distant cousin to pork ‘n beans. To make Charro Beans Tex-Mex, I doubled the amount of fresh jalepenos, added cumin, used ancho chili, and now they better accompany this Tex-Mex version of London Broil.

Charro Pinto Beans – Tex-Mex Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried Pinto beans
  • 6 ounces Bacon, diced
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, diced (about 1½ C for beans, rest for garnish)
  • 4 fresh Jalapeños, minced (about ¾ C for beans, rest for garnish)
  • 2 tsp ground Ancho chili pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican Oregano
  • 2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 2 T minced Garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • 2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 14-ounce cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth, in all
  • 1 Bay Leaf

For serving: fresh chopped cilantro, diced jalapenos, sliced green onions, and bacon bits

Procedure

  1. Place dried pinto beans and 4 C no-sodium chicken broth to cover on med-high heat in a 2-qt sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 2 hours. Stir occasionally, beans have a tendency to stick to the pan bottom while cooking. Make sure there’s always enough broth to cover the beans, even if it’s only by a little bit. Beans should be 80-90% softened and nearly completely cooked by then.
  2. Heat a large pot or 4-qt Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp.
  3. Add the onions and jalapenos. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent and begin to soften. Add ancho chili, oregano, and cumin, stir and cook for 2 minutes. stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes with the juice and vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
  5. Add beans with the liquid, 2 C chicken broth, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Turn up the heat to high, stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the beans are barely tender, check after about 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover the pot and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The beans will be fully cooked (some beans will begin to break down, and that’s ok, as it thickens the broth) and the liquid will be reduced and thickened.
  7. Taste and season with more salt or pepper as necessary. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and jalapenos, and sliced green onions.

Tex-Mex London Broil BBQ

This Tex-Mex steak is seasoned overnight in a homemade Tex-Mex marinade, that can also be used for pork steaks, chicken, or fish. I like to use the sweet, fruity, sour, artisan-made balsamic vinegar, but you might like it better with lime or lemon juice.

Tex-Mex Marinade – London Broil BBQ

  • 2-3 lb London Broil – Top Round Steak, trimmed, 1 1/2″ – 2″ thick
  • 2-3 Giant Texas 1015 Sweet Onions – sliced on the latitude, into 1/3″ ‘steaks’

Tex-Mex Marinade

  • ¼ – 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 tsp ground Ancho Chili Pepper*
  • 1 tsp ground Guajilla Chili Pepper*
  • 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
  • ½ tsp ground Sage (or ground Savory)

Procedure

  1. Put the steak in a sealable container or a glass baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap. Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Pour over the steak and tenderize both sides by repeatedly stabbing it with a meat fork a bunch of times, so the marinade goes deep within the meat.
  2. Marinate the London Broil in the sealed/covered dish for at least 8 hrs in the fridge, turning over a time or two.
  3. Set the steak on a wire rack to drain for a few minutes. Brush onion steaks with extra marinade.
  4. Grill meat and Onions. London Broil is usually 1 1/2″-2″ thick and it’s still fridge cold (you can warm it to room temperature if you have a thicker steak and want it more done). Grill on the first side for 5-8 minutes, depending on how you like it. Flip and grill for another 5-8 minutes.
  5. Grill the Sweet Onions with the steak. Remove to a warmed serving platter when they are soft.
  6. Let the London Broil sit for 10 minutes on a cutting board covered with foil after grilling so its juices will absorb back into the meat. Then slice the steak across the grain in 1/3″ – 1/2″ slices, and serve on the warmed platter with the grilled sweet onions.

This steak ends up seared on the outside and soft, moist, and delicious on the inside and excellent texture. The marinade is a little sour, earthy, tangy with complex tastes. Great presentation. The Onion is a sweet and sharp surprise. Adding the Charro Beans make a meal worth celebrating with friends and family for an everyday Sunday at home, or showing off on a special occasion. Serve with tortillas, or warm cornbread and butter. Add some crunch and textures with big green pitted olives, deviled eggs, green onions, and radishes. Best served with many smiles y con muchas cervesas frias.

Add this to your lists for Weekend Food Recipes, Healthy Family Dinner Recipes, Pirate Food Recipes, or Healthy Comfort Food Recipes.

Discourse

For maximum health benefits, I select minimally processed ingredients. So, it’s organic, non-GMO, no hormones, no pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. It’s sustainably grown, clean, cared for. Note there are no rice or potato dishes. Don’t need them.

* These milder and very tasty peppers are what I use. Guajillo is a ‘traditional’ beef chili pepper found in many Mexican Red Sauces. You can use what’s available: California (mild and flavorful), New Mexico (mid-heat, tastes great), or Chipotle (smoked jalapenos, snappy) chili peppers are also popular.

This be the way I cook… freedom and adventure in my kitchen. The best of healthy comfort food. Family food. Happy food. Satisfaction.

Let me know if you like to cook this way. I’d love to hear from you. And if you cooked these, how did they turn out? Please leave a comment. Or ask your questions about the food or preparation techniques.

Cooking for Pirates, where every meal is a party for a Pirate.

16 Comments

  1. I love this topic! Many don’t know but I actually have a chile pepper tattoo, but that’s a story for other pages…lol. Having grown up with a mexican Grandma that loved to cook and did so very well, your recipes look like something right up my alley! Can’t wait to try them!

    • Cristal, I’m glad you enjoyed the topic.
      And, please do let me know how these work out when you cook them and share them with your family.
      All of them are special to me. Lots of enjoyment in creating them, cooking them, and writing about them.
      Thank you.

  2. Hello I’m fond of your post as I love Tex-Mex cuisine
    I learned something about history. Didn’t know that the Mexicans lived in Texas since 1500.
    Your recipes, the Charro Pinto Beans and the Tex-Mex London Broil BBQ, looks delicious and I’ll try them next week.
    It’s important that you tried to maximalize healthy food by minimalizing processes ingredients.  I appreciate.

    • Hi, Jacob,

      I’m glad you like Tex-Mex and recognize it as a cuisine.

      Lots of people eat at chain restaurants and really don’t appreciate the goodness of what Tex-Mex has evolved into.

      Both of these recipes are just my favorite. Charro or Borracho Beans have replaced baked beans or BBQ beans as my go to on BBQ days. They are good as left-overs by themselves with tortillas, and good with burgers.

      After I first did this London Broil Marinade, I’ve always made it this way. It’s a perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon dinner. Wait till you taste those Onion Steaks!

      I’m also glad you like healthy comfort food.

      Thank you for your time in leaving a wonderful comment.

      Pirate Mike – Pirate Foodie

  3. Hi, Mike.
    Your Pirate recipes are going to places and everyone is going to love them.
    We are planning to try our hands on  Cowboy Pinto Beans but with little change. We shall mix spiced Cottage Cheese  in place of Chicken broth , as we are pure vegetarian. We shall also mix some soya chunks to make it firing hot.
    Looking forward to more Veg Pirate Dish recipes soon on your page.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    • Hi, Gaurav,

      I appreciate you comment about my Pirate recipes will be loved by many. Thank you, so kind.

      If you want to keep the beans in a broth, substitute vegetable broth or coconut water instead of the chicken broth. I love to cook with coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water. 

      And for the fire, add some ground hot red chili peppers, I use cayenne, arbol, habanero, etc.

      Thanks for looking for more recipes, rice and beans from New Orleans. Do you eat seafood, or totally veg?

      Enjoy good cooking.

      Pirate Mike – Pirate Foodie

  4. Hi, I think that old foods were more health because people should move too much due to lack of technology. Pirates are travelling in the huge sea, sing a song and drinking so much. I do not support their living but I believe their foods are so delicious. Because they know how to enjoy.

    Thank you for sharing these great receipts. I am not good at cooking but I want to try soon.

    I am looking forward to hear about your new post.

    • Gokhan,

      I appreciate your thoughts on these recipes.

      Yes, Pirates do like to have fun. Work hard, play hard.

      Cooking is just the best hobby to me. It contributes to my well being.

      I like it that you are exploring different recipes… that’s one of the best ways to start cooking… that and watching cooking shows. My first major in college was Chemistry. And that’s really what cooking is… along with it being an art form.

      Best of all to you…. let me know how your cooking goes.

      Pirate Mike – Pirate Foodie

  5. Hello Michael. Nice food you have here!. It’s been about 3 months since I changed my diet to vegan for health reasons. But before that I really enjoyed every good food that I could find. These recipes that you have here already sound delicious to me!

    I’m from Greece so I didn’t come across Tex-Mex cuisine. My sister who likes to cook new things will certainly know about Tex-Mex cuisine. 

    But apart from my sister, I have lots of friends who would like to try new food, especially with chicken and meat included! So I will give them a ring if I meet them.

    I also agree with your Notes sections. These days food must be as clean as possible. Who knows what kinds of sickness have occured that are food related.

    I’m glad I read your article. Keep cooking and have a nice day!

    • HI, George.

      I appreciate your making such a nice comment about these recipes.

      The Charro Pinto Beans can be vegan. Use olive oil or coconut oil instead of bacon. And use a vegetable stock or water for the stock. 

      Not much can be done for the steak for you though. I do appreciate your offer to pass the recipe along to your friends.

      I was a vegetarian for about 7 years in my 20’s. Now I’m a healthy comfort food Foodie.

      Thank for your time…. and the best of all to you.

      Pirate Mike – Pirate Foodie

  6. Hello Pirate Mike,

    I am in heaven, history and food mixed together!

    I love all sorts of foods especially tex mex. and will be trying out your recipe the next time I have a Sunday get together with family and friends.

    Always interesting to learn about what people ate all those years ago since history mostly focuses on the overall event, not the individual experiences of those involved.

    This makes it more relatable.

    Proud papa of two,

    Jody

    • Jody,

      Isn’t being a Foodie a wonderful thing? And do you know of another Pirate Foodie?

      I’m having a lot of fun with the history and food.

      I’m so honored that you’ll cook these recipes and serve them to your family and friends.

      Ever since the first time with the London Broil Marinade, I’ve never made a London Broil any differently.

      Stay tuned to Jean Lafitte (1774-1883) and New Orleans Cajun and Creole recipes. It’s my favorie food to cook.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Pirate Mike – Pirate Foodie

  7. Hey Mike, excellent article. Your recipe is awesome. Personally, your post is the first in a long time that made me want to get back to cooking for myself; your recipe is also awesome, I do love a good cornbread meal or treat; not a fan of black beans though but I don’t mind that its part of the recipe. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you RJ.

      I appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment on several of my recipes.

      And by all means I encourage you to begin cooking for yourself again soon.

      Cook the cornbread.

      Exchange pinto beans, red beans, kidney red beans, etc for the black beans. No problem.

      Thank you. 

      Pirate Mike – Foodie

  8. I enjoy eating beans but I never tried Charro pinto beans and it looks so delicious. I can see that list of ingredients is a little long but that is what actually gives it such a great taste. All these recipes look so attractive so I will bookmark this to follow the preparation. Thanks for sharing this awesome cuisine.

    • I appreciate your comments Daniel, thank you.

      Go ahead, cook the Charro Beans, they might be made and eaten more often than any other type of bean dish.

      And, yes, the long list of ingredients is what provides the breadth and depth of tastes.

      I have discovered this to be foundation to healthy comfort food. The right amount of the right spices is the true goal of cooking. It’s what makes my recipes mine. Lots of people wouldn’t ever cook like this.

      Again, thanks for the comment.

      Pirate Mike – Foodie

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