Red Bean Essentials: Those Often-Overlooked, Smoky, Meaty Pieces & Parts
While many swear by Andouille sausage, and others opt for ham hocks or tasso, there are a slew of overlooked smoky, meaty ingredients that’ll impart wonderful flavor when cooked with red beans. From pig tails, rib tips, and pork necks, to smoked turkey necks and turkey legs, these under-used seasoning meats — with their skin, tendons, ligaments, collagen, and fat — infuse flavor, body, and incredible richness into a pot of beans.
Eating “nose-to-tail” is a philosophy that encourages using all parts of an animal, so as not to waste anything. And since Cajuns in particular and Southerners, in general, are known for being resourceful, thrifty, and not letting anything go to waste – the delicious pieces and parts that might otherwise be ignored or thrown out are often used to perfectly season red beans and increase nutrition.
So why not get creative and try lesser-known pig tails or turkey necks when cooking your next batch of red beans? Your taste buds (and your wallet) with thank you.