Southern style green beans, sometimes called Southern string beans, are a delicious simmered green beans recipe that makes the perfect Southern side dish for holidays or anytime you are craving slow cooked green beans. This Southern green bean recipe uses salt pork to achieve that delicious meaty flavor in the broth. Bacon or hammocks work well too.
I love Southern green beans! These country style green beans are cooked in a delicious broth with meat allowing the green beans to soak up so much flavor and making every bite just so amazing.
Southern style green beans are not like other green beans you may have tried. These green beans are going to be very soft and will turn a deep color from being cooked for a long time.
This is how it should be if you are making Southern style greens beans.
- Fresh green beans. Just look for fresh green beans at your local store. The longer varieties are the best. String beans are not usually an item sold in grocery stores anymore so you don't have to worry about taking the "string" portion out of the bean. If you are working with garden pole beans, snap one end off of the green bean and pull the string down the length of the bean to remove it.
- Salt pork. If you do not have salt pork, smoked bacon will work really well.
- Chicken broth
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and pepper
There are actually not too many ingredients needed to make these Southern style green beans. This is how Southern cooking works.
The key to any great Southern recipe is building on layers of flavor with a few ingredients. This green beans recipe is no different!
How to Cook Fresh Green Beans (the Southern way!)
Cooking these Southern style green beans is so easy and requires only a few steps and a little patience while they cook and do their thing. Here is what it all looks like.
Best meat for Southern green beans
When making a traditional Southern style green beans, ham hocks or salt pork are the most commonly used meat that is added to the recipe. Salt pork is actually widely available in supermarkets even if you may not have noticed it there.
To find salt pork in your grocery store, just head over to the meat section and it is usually sold in a a small square sealed package.
If you do have salt pork on hand, ham hocks are the next best meat you can use for these green beans. The meat on the ham hocks cooks down and adds flavor to the broth.
Bacon is also a wonderful meat to use if you prefer to have a simple way to add meat flavor to your green beans. Just try to cut the bacon into thick pieces then crisp it up so that the bacon releases its fat into the pot.
That bacon fat will add so much flavor to the green beans. If you prefer crisp bacon in the final dish, make sure to set aside the crisped up bacon until right before serving.
Southerners generally don't eat the salt pork in this recipe. It is merely there to add flavor.
You can do this same thing with the bacon and allow it it to cook with the beans knowing it will be soft.
Seasoning Green Beans
These Southern style green beans are very delicious with the ingredients they already have in the recipe but you may want to add a little more depending on your preference.
Some of my favorite seasoning additions to these green beans are:
- Red wine vinegar. This may sound odd but believe me, the tangy vinegar adds that background acid to this dish that makes it really good. I use this vinegar in my collard greens with bacon recipe as well for the same reason.
- You can add even more heat to your green beans by adding some cajun spice to the mix. Blackened spice always makes everything taste amazing and these green beans are no exception.
- Add more meat! You can add smoked sausage to these green beans and it will not only add so much flavor but it will make it a complete meal on its own.
What to serve with these Southern Style Green Beans
I told you I am a really big fan of Southern cooking. I have eaten my fair share over the years and I am still loving it.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve with these Southern style green beans. You don't have to make all of them but if you want to pull off the whole Southern side dish experience like you would do at a Southern BBQ spot, you might want to make a couple 🙂
Easy Southern Green Beans
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 2 lbs Fresh green beans
- 3 ounces Salt pork. Cut into ½ inch cubes. You can also use bacon or ham hocks.
- enough chicken stock to cover the green beans (about 4 cups) You can substitute water if you do not have chicken stock.
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt plus more to taste.
- ¼ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly cracked pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, saute the salt pork and red pepper flakes in a little oil until the fat has rendered and the salt pork has crisped up.3 ounces Salt pork., 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
- Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent.1 small yellow onion, 1 clove of garlic
- Now add the green beans and mix well with the salt pork.2 lbs Fresh green beans
- Pour the chicken stock into the pot to just cover the green beans.enough chicken stock to cover the green beans (about 4 cups)
- Add salt and pepper and mix well.½ teaspoon Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon Freshly cracked pepper
- Bring to a light boil.
- Once it comes to a gentle boil, cover and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer for about 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the lid and bring back to a gentle simmer.
- Allow the green beans to simmer with the lid off to allow the liquid to evaporate, making sure to check often and stir.
- Once the liquid has mostly evaporated out of the pot (about 20-30 minutes) they are ready to eat.
- Taste for any additional salt needed before serving.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here