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Louis Armstrong's
Creole Red Beans

Servings: 6 or more

Louis Armstrong's  Creole Red Beans

Satchmo's personal recipe, courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum


1 lb. kidney beans
1 lb. salt pork (strip of lean, strip of fat; slab bacon may be used if preferred)
1 small can tomato sauce (if desired)
6 small ham hocks, or 1 smoked pork butt
2 onions, diced
1 green (bell) pepper
5 tiny or 2 medium dried peppers
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Use a 2 qt. pot with cover. Wash beans thoroughly, then soak overnight in cold water. Be sure to cover beans.
  2. To cook, pour water off beans, add fresh water to cover. Add salt pork or bacon and let come to a boil over a full flame in covered pot. Turn flame down to slightly higher than low and let cook 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Add diced onions, bell pepper, garlic, dried peppers, and salt. Cook 3 hours.
  4. Add tomato sauce and cook 1-1/2 hours more, adding water whenever necessary. Beans and meat should always be just covered with water (juice), never dry.
  5. To prepare with Ham Hocks or Pork Butts‚ wash meat, add water to cover, and let come to a boil in covered pot over medium flame. Cook 1-1/2 hours.
  6. Add beans (pour water off) and add rest of ingredients to meat. Cook 4-1/2 hours. Add water when necessary.


For non-pork eaters, chicken fat may be used instead of salt pork. Corned beef or beef tongue may be used instead of ham hocks or butts.

To Serve:

On dinner plate‚ rice then beans, beans over rice or beside rice, as preferred. Twenty minutes later‚ Bisma Rex and Swiss Kriss.