Senior food editor Rick Martinez’s father contributed this recipe, which calls for both salt pork and bacon drippings. Yes, you can use lard, but now you have an excuse to eat more bacon. Be mindful of oversalting; both the salt pork and the bacon fat contain quite a bit, and there’s no coming back if you overdo it.
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed, picked through
- 5 ounces salt pork or thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup lard or rendered bacon fat, divided
- Pico de gallo and crumbled queso fresco (for serving)
Bring onion, bell pepper, garlic, beans, pork, salt, and 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding boiling water if needed to cover, until beans are tender, 2–2½ hours.
Working in 2 batches, heat ½ cup lard in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high. Fry 6 cups beans and their liquid (they will splatter, so be careful) until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Smash beans in skillet with a potato masher until mixture is thick and no whole beans remain (refried beans should still be pourable at this point, but will thicken as they sit). Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining beans and ½ cup lard.
Top refried beans with pico de gallo and queso fresco.
Do Ahead: Beans, before frying, can be made 3 months ahead; freeze in an airtight container.