Up here, in the mountains of the south, we know that soup beans and bean soup are not the same thing. Soup beans is a term common in the Southern United States, particularly the regions around the Appalachian Mountains. It refers to pinto or other brown dried beans cooked with smoked pork as flavoring. Soup beans are usually served with cornbread and considered a main course, but can also serve as a side dish. In rural areas, where food was scarce during the winter, these dried beans were a staple food. I grew up on soup beans and every southern cook has a different way of making it. This is my version which is a combination of the way my Grandmother, Granny, and Mom made it. I like to use a pressure cooker to speed up the process, but you can use a regular pot, just keep an eye on the water level so it doesn't boil down. You have to crumble cornbread in it when you serve it for that down home authenticity.