Red Beans & Rice is "poverty food" -- stuff I learned to cook as a starving college student. But it's source is black slave culture in the US, stuff that slaves cooked because it's what they had.
Accordingly, there's a lot of variation --
I always cooked the red beans and any meat as one dish, and then combined it with rice, the rice being an entirely separate dish.
I've always found ham hocks, a bit rubbery. Mostly they add a smokey flavor to the dish. You can get this with smoked ham, or smoked sausage.
I use a variety of pork ribs (boneless) or pork shoulder (boneless), but I brown this meat in the pan before I add the beans. Then I de-glaze the pan with beer/ale. But vinegar works here too. Vinegar adds flavor to beans.
My recipes -- not so much "recipes" as "approaches" and more intuitive than written down anywhere -- include pinto beans, kidney beans.
The secret to good beans is spice, and I add "Tex-Mex" varieties of peppers, jalpeno, and that whole litany of Texas/Mexican chili flavors.
I soak the beans overnight at least. The more they soak, the faster they cook.