Grama Dee’s New Year’s beans

January 15th, 2006

For as long as I can remember, every New Year’s Day was rung in with a pot of my Grama Dee’s “good luck beans”. It was a sacrilege not to eat them, and let me just say, that when you are a very tiny person, a heaping spoonful of sludgy beans and pork fat is the last thing you want to be force-fed. But as the years multiplied, so did my acceptance of these beans. As did my growing fear and suspicions of the horrible bad luck that would be inflicted upon me if I did not partake of them. And so I ate them. Hesitantly at first, but 34 years later, I wolf them down as if my luck depended on it.

It’s been almost 7 years since Grama Dee passed away, and every year I spend my January 1st cooking up a pot of her infamous beans…in fear that if I do not, my next 365 days will be riddled with broken mirrors, black cats, bad boyfriends, and the inexplicable random firing from my job. And so it is out of that deep-seeded fear, that I now share with you this sacred secret recipe, in hopes that you too, can enjoy the “good luck” that lies miraculously within a 99¢ bag of beans. You may now also share in the longest running joke of my entire family which is…”I ate the damn beans, now where the hell is my good luck?”

GOOD LUCK BEANS recipe from Doris Foxworthy

2 lb bag of beans (great northern or navy work well)
1 ham bone or packaged salt pork
1 onion – diced
1 lg stalk celery – diced


  1. Rinse beans under cold water and set aside.
  2. Dice up the onion and a large stalk of celery.
    Grama Dee tip: To stop sobbing over your onions, bite down on a piece of bread while you are chopping.
  3. In dutch oven or large pot, sweat the onions and celery along with the salt pork over medium high heat (see the photo or learn how to sweat an onion)
  4. Add the rinsed beans to the pot, and add enough water to cover beans and meat (see photo)
  5. Throw in a teaspoon of salt and some pepper to start (you can always adjust the seasonings as you cook).
  6. Cover the beans with lid, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
  7. Turn heat to low and simmer for 2 or more hours, occasionally stirring the beans.
  8. The beans will be done when they start to break down and the water becomes kinda like gravy and look something like this.
  9. After your beans are cooked, you want to remove the big chunks of salt pork (or the hamhock/hambone) and begin to shred the pork (see photo). I usually just take two forks and pull the pork that way. once all the pork is shredded, throw it back into the pot (minus any bones of course) with the beans, and give it all a good stir.
  10. Dice up a little more onion, and throw it on a plate, like so.
  11. Slop a heaping portion of beans over the pile of onions, and begin to see the effects of your year’s worth of good luck!

Now, I know it’s hard to believe…but Grama Dee didn’t just stop with the good luck beans. A typical New Year’s Day menu would consist of such heart-stoppers as:

And don’t worry….I’ll be getting to all those recipes at a later date…but for now, you can just be happy knowing that a menu like that even existed. I know I am.

Entry Filed under: comfort foods,hillbilly recipes,main dishes

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