4slicesthick cut baconcooked partway, then coarsely chopped
1mediumjalapeño pepperseeded and chopped
1/4cupapple cider vinegar
Sort through and rinse beans and remove any rocks.
Cover (about 2-inches over the beans) with water and soak overnight. Roughly 4 cups of water.
Drain beans; cover with 6 cups of fresh water. Should cover the beans by at least an inch.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for one hour.
While beans are cooking, fry your bacon partway (bacon should not get crispy); remove to drain on paper towels. Coarsely chop when cooled.
Leave a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan, and sauté your chopped onion and jalapeño until onion is translucent (a couple minutes). Allow the onion and jalapeño drain on paper towels as well.
Towards the end of the beans' cooking process, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
When beans are done, drain over a bowl or pan so you can reserve the cooking liquid.
In a Dutch oven, combine onion and jalapeño mixture, brown sugar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, dry mustard, and one cup of the bean liquid. Stir together then add the drained beans. Gently stir to combine.
Cover and bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and stirring gently, add ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and the coarsely chopped bacon to beans. If it appears that the beans need more liquid, go ahead and add more of the reserved bean liquid as needed.
Cook for 1 hour. Test to make sure beans are done; cook a little longer if necessary, up to 1.5 hours.
Remove cover and bake for 20-30 minutes more to thicken sauce. Stir gently, allow to cool 10 minutes, and serve.
If you're making a vegetarian version, skip the bacon and use a little vegetable oil instead. The bacon grease does give it a nice flavor if you don't have a dietary reason for avoiding it.
If you forget to soak your beans overnight, you can try quick-soaking your beans. TO do this, rinse the beans and place in a pot of water (should cover by 2 inches). Bring to a boil, boil one minute, then remove from heat. Cover the pan and let soak for one hour. Drain and rinse.
If you use a Dutch oven, it can go right into the oven for baking. However, you can use a pot and then transfer the beans to a casserole dish if you prefer.
The skins of the beans are ever-so-tender and can break up easily with over mixing. So use a light hand wherever the recipe says to stir.