Here is a very small, chili-type bean that is loaded with California history. Most of us thought the Santa Maria "Pinks" were brought in with the migrant citrus workers of the 1950s (who also introduced us to the tri-tip), but now there's some thought that it was a crop during the Mission era. Whatever its origins, it's delicious and meaty and the perfect match for any barbecue, chili or even salad.
Classic Santa Maria country barbecues include the Pinquitos and a beef tri-tip. The meat is somewhat simple and all sorts of ingredients go into the beans. The folks at Rancho Gordo tend to think it should be the other way around. These beans don't need doctoring up! Just some onions, garlic a little fat and your pot of beans is ready for summer, and beyond.
Santa Maria Pinquitos have a superior pot liquor and stay somewhat firm. Ideal for chili, barbecues or for borrachos (or drunken beans). Don't forget them for salads!