Barbecued Baked Beans

adapted from Wives with Knives

1 pound small white beans

6-8 slices thick cut smoked bacon, about 1 cup diced

1/2 cup onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery with leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3 large cloves)

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or canned

1/3 cup brown sugar, or more to taste

1/4 cup molasses

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon dry mustard

3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste

3 1/2 cup chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 tsp cracked pepper

3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dry thyme)

Pick through the beans to remove any debris. Rinse the beans and place in a large pot. Cover the beans with cold water and allow the beans to soak overnight or for several hours.  Drain the soaked beans and transfer them to a cooking pot.   

In a skillet, saute the onions, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for about four minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the mixture to the cooking pot along with 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, the bay leaves, salt, pepper and thyme.  (The beans should be covered with at least an inch or more of liquid, so you may need to add additional water or stock.)  

Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a high boil. Keep the beans at a high boil for 5 minutes, then reduce them to a gentle simmer and cover.  Simmer the beans until they are soft.  The best test is to bite into one or mash one or two between your fingers.

Saute the bacon pieces until crisp and drain on paper towels.  

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Once the beans are cooked through, add the tomato sauce to the pot, stir.  Add the bacon pieces, stir. Next, mix in the brown sugar, molasses, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust the seasonings by adding more brown sugar, mustard, Tabasco, salt or pepper.

Bake the beans in the oven for 4-5 hours or in a crock pot on high for 4-5 hours.  Sir the beans now and then.  Should the beans get too thick, add a little more water or chicken stock.  The beans should thicken some as they cool.  Save any extra liquid to thin the beans after they have cooled, if necessary.