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Cooking Wildly Column with Kate Krukowski Gooding

Our annual 4th of July bean hole bean party was inspired by The Maine Sportsman and
 George Smith’s Wildfire Show. George had asked what I do with the odds and ends of game meats. As I look thorough my freezer in late spring I find some treasures that will braise beyond belief in a bean hole pit all day! What do you think about a one pot bean hole bean pit meal?  

I pulled out a bear shank, a beaver leg, 4 duck legs, and 3 woodcocks to start. Ha! You ask about the bear shank, keep in mind I have a 14 quart cast iron pot that looks like it could hold the whole leg! Let's begin this part of the feast. 

You will need a mixture of hard and soft wood. This will insure fast burning for soft and long burning coals for hard wood. When you have a good foil seal on your cast iron pot and covered securely, this insures that beans will keep plenty of moisture in pot.

2          pounds Jacob’s Cattle dried beans (great northern, navy, pea beans or your favorite)

16        ounces Baby Bella or Button mushrooms, quartered

2          pounds carrots, chunked

1          beaver leg

1          bear shank

3          woodcocks

4          duck legs

1          whole red onion, peeled

1          cup brown sugar

1          cup molasses

4          tablespoons Raye's Dundicott Hot Mustard

1          tablespoon dry mustard

1          tablespoon Kosher Salt

1          tablespoon black pepper


Pick beans over and remove bad ones. Wash, then soak beans overnight in plenty of water.

Good Morning: Start fire in bean hole. Fill 3/4 full of wood. You need enough burnt coals to be able to bury your bean pot in the middle and cover back up with coals, then dirt. Fill bean hole 3/4 full of wood and light a fire. You need enough burnt coals to be able to bury your bean pot in the middle and cover back up with coals.

Drain soaked beans. In large cast iron pot that has a handle and flared cover layer mushrooms, carrots, onion, beans, meats, brown sugar, molasses, mustards, salt and pepper. Fill bean pot with enough hot water to cover the beans. Place two heavy-duty aluminum foil sheets between the pot and cover to make a seal. Top with cover.

When fire has burned down to red-hot coals (@ 2-3 hours-more for our bean hole), use a long-handled spade to push coals to one side of the hole. Carefully set pot into hole so it's level (checking first to make sure the lid is on tight), and nestle hot coals on top and around the pot. Cover coals with four to six inches of soil. You should see no steam escaping through the dirt. Cook for 7-8 hours. 


Shovel off dirt, move coals aside and remove pot. If beans seem dry, make a ½ -inch indentation in center of beans, add a little boiling water, and let it set in before eating. (Recipe in 50 Ways to Eat A Beaver)


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