I'm T-Bone's grandson. My grandparents always told their secret" to anybody who asked, so I'm sure there is no harm in
You need to experiment with the recipe to get it just right. I'd say start with a pound of dry beans. I've never
measured or weighed.
The recipe is deceptively simple: Dried pinto beans are boiled for an hour minimum until the wet paper smell goes away,
chill, add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon salt and boil again until beans are fully cooked. These proportions are
for a crock pot-sized batch.
David James, Durango
Editor's note: A letter from Ed Healy of Wichita, Kan., published March 16 asked if
Herald readers knew the secret to the beans served at the T-Bone restaurant, which operated in Durango from about 1965
to roughly 1988. The restaurant was run by Thomas T-Bone" James and his wife, Mary Nell James - although Thomas James
never went by his given name. His grandson David James - not the David James of James Ranch - told the Herald,
Everybody, and I do mean everybody, called him T-Bone."
Russell Barnes of Tiffany also called in with the secret" - 2 parts sugar to 1 part
salt. He said he worked at the T-Bone restaurant for three summers as a kid" and remembered cooking the
His version differs mainly in quantity, starting with a 3-gallon pot and 12 to 24
ounces of salt with the sugar adjusted accordingly. He says the beans should slow-cook for as long as 24
The T-Bone restaurant first opened in Bondad. It later moved to a U.S. Highway
550-160 location just west of Farmington Hill.