Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Old Fashioned Slow Stewed Southern Green Beans

Fresh green beans, slow stewed in the Southern way with cubed or sliced salt pork or fatback. Served here with my Ground Beef Mac and Cheese and Next Day Salad.

Old Fashioned Slow Stewed Southern Green Beans

I make my green beans the same way most of the time - a little bacon, a little onion and a little chicken broth or water. Sometimes, new potatoes are added. Doesn't matter whether they are fresh, frozen or canned - I use the same method for them all, and each of those elements add so much depth and flavor to green beans. I love them.

But when I have the time, this is the way that I love them the most. Fresh green beans, snapped and cooked in the old fashioned way - a low and slow simmer in water, with a little fatback or salt pork and pepper is all there is to it. Once they are done, I like to stir in a tablespoon of bacon fat or butter to add just a little extra richness. Taste them first, then add other seasonings as you like.

Some folks think these are "stewed to death" green beans because of the long cooking time, since fresh green beans literally cook in a very short time really. The key is slow "stewing," not boiling. You only want a very low bubble on them that allows them to barely simmer for a long time - at least an hour, an hour and a half, even better. It's an old fashioned and delicious way to enjoy fresh green beans and is truly southern style.

Do use fatback or salt pork for this method if you have access to it, because it makes a huge difference in the flavor, and well... that is the old way and while bacon or a ham hock will work, it's just not quite the same. I promise, if you grew up with slow stewed Southern green beans, the aroma of these cooking will bring you right back to your grandmother's kitchen.

Make them ahead whenever you can and let them set up in the fridge to soak in the pot juices. The flavor really develops and they are most excellent the next day. Always serve these beans with lots of cornbread.

Here's how to make them, and it really couldn't be easier.

Rinse, trim and snap fresh green beans in half or thirds. Please do not substitute canned or frozen green beans for this recipe, only very fresh beans will do here.

Place into a large saucepan with fatback and plenty of pepper; bring to a boil. I mostly use a block of salt pork cubed, but had to use sliced salt pork this time, because when I made a trip to the market, that's all they had at the store. That's okay - works fine!

Reduce to a very low simmer, cover and let barely simmer for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remember, the key here is simmer and not an extended boil.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed, and any other seasonings you enjoy. Stir in the butter or bacon fat. Now, if you've made these ahead of time, all the more better! When these beans sit over night in their stewed juices, they are even more marvelous than when you made them the day before.

I would agree that these are a bit nondescript in their appearance, but oh my heavens the flavor. Out of this world. Do try them this summer when green beans are fresh and at their peak!

Recipe: Old Fashioned Slow Stewed Southern Green Beans

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 pounds of fresh green beans
  • 4-1/2 cups of water
  • 5 ounces of fatback or salt pork, rinsed and cubed, sliced or quartered
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
  • Salt, at the end, only as needed, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or bacon fat, to finish, optional

Rinse, trim and snap green beans in half or thirds. Place into a large saucepan with fatback and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer, cover and let barely simmer for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed. Finish by stirring in the butter or bacon fat.

Cook's Notes: Remember, these beans are slow stewed, not boiled. They need to remain on a very bare simmer the entire cooking time - do not let them boil. Use fresh, raw green beans only, not frozen or canned. Do not substitute. Ham hocks or bacon are a suitable stand-in if you must, but the taste is not at all the same. Add whole scrubbed, tiny new potatoes about halfway through if desired and continue cooking until they are tender.

For the Slow Cooker: Prepare as above placing in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.


Requires Adobe Reader - download it free!
©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.

Check These Recipes Out Too!

Green Bean Bundles
Sweet and Sour Green Beans
Green Beans and Tomatoes
Posted by on June 18, 2014

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, please do not copy and paste to repost or republish elsewhere such as other Facebook pages, blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I grew up on cooked-to-death green beans, mom used bacon, and that is still the only way I will eat them. So I'm with you on the ingredients, except we generally use a country ham hock in ours.

    1. Try it with fatback or salt pork sometime Larry!

  2. I can tell this is a wonderful recipe when you mentioned that they taste even better the next day. So many of my favorite recipes taste better when the flavors can marry, Not being a Southern girl, I have never had these but I bet they are delicious.

  3. I'm from eastern KY & I love Southern made green beans. I grew up in n.e.Ohio where in school we were served green beans right out of a can without seasoning--Yuk. My mother, and I, make them with salt pork or fat back, depending on what's available. Like Big Dude's Mom mine cooked them to death, they were dry at the end of cooking-no broth was left in them. They were wonderful with new potatoes. She grew & cooked mostly white half runners which are, in my opinion, the best green beans.

    1. Oh you gotta try it with that pot likker for sure!

  4. My mouth is watering. This sounds good with cut up cucumbers on the side. Yum!

  5. I love them like this too!!!

  6. Man oh man, I miss fatback. Especially with my grandmother would fry some for me. I like to use jowl bacon in my green beans when I can find it because it's like a cross between bacon and fatback.

  7. My mother cooked them with fat back, salt and pepper. The only difference is she would start frying the fatback and get it hot then throw in the beans, put the pan under running water, getting a great sizzle and steam. Add pepper then salt as needed. Then, low and slow like you say for an hour or so. And yes, better the next day.

    If we had leftover corn and beans, she would add them together. Or potatoes, same way. This is the best way to eat green beans.

    1. I mean I like them prepared the faster way, even steamed or bacon wrapped, in salads, whatever, but this way is my number one favorite definitely.

  8. Love, love, love green beans cooked this way. I live in Atlanta which used to be southern city and you could get green beans in restaurants like this. Now, if you want them like this when you eat out you have to go to Cracker Barrel! Thanks for this truly Southern recipe.

    1. You are so welcome! During the summer I prepare them this way much more often than the rest of the year & they aren't a lot of trouble once you get them going and SO delicious the next day. I didn't realize that Atlanta had changed that much - been years since I visited there. Thank goodness for Cracker Barrel!!

  9. My mama and grandma cooked green beans just like you described. Being Cajuns, we ate them over rice. None of that cornbread stuff for us. I also remember picking those beans for mama. Mouthwatering memories, to be sure.

    1. I've never done these over rice, but I am guilty of combining them a bit on my plate. :) We eat a lot of rice over here in South Mississippi too!

  10. OMG! Were these ever sooo good. Made with salt pork and added butter at the end. Thanks Mary, in my favorites!

    1. You're welcome Elizabeth! I could just eat the whole pot for supper - I'm so glad that you enjoyed them too!!

  11. This is my favorite way to eat green beans! I am making these for dinner tonight. My Mama used to put up a garden every summer. I remember sitting and snapping or shelling beans. I moved to Atlanta from central Mississippi. When Mama and Daddy were still living, they would always make me a pot of these when I would go home for a visit along with butterbeans. They always cooked them in their old cast iron pot. The best way to cook green ever! Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a wonderful memory - thanks so much for sharing it!!

  12. Hi there, great site! I made spoon bread with southern style green beans. I used thick cut bacon, garlic in addition to onion, deglazed the pan with vinegar and added a little sugar, and I simmered with chicken broth not water. Soooo good!


Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from readers and I read every single comment and try to respond to them right here on the site, so stop back by!

From time to time, anonymous restrictions and/or comment moderation may be activated due to comment spam. I also reserve the right to edit, delete or otherwise exercise total editorial discretion over any comments left on this blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails