4 slices bacon, chopped fine OR 1 ham bone
1/2 cup minced onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 pound (2 cups) beans, black and/or red
8 cups water
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (Cattleman's)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 tsp prepared mustard
1 TBS molasses
Salt and Pepper
Cook bacon (if using) and onion in a large dutch oven until bacon is crisp and onion is softened. Add garlic and stir until fregrant, about 15 seconds. Add beans, water, coffee, BBQ sauce, sugar, mustard, molasses, 1/2 tsp tabasco, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, scraping brown bits off the bottom of the dutch oven as you stir. Cover and transfer to a 300 degree oven for 4 hours, stirring periodically. Remove lid and continue to bake, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened, 1 - 1 1/2 hours more. Season beans with additional Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste.
The original recipe is from America's Test Kitchen, but I didn't have some of the ingredients, so I improvised. The above is my version and it was a crowd pleaser. I've served it twice and had many people asked for the recipe. The original recipe calls for white beans, but I prefer the density of back and red. Also, I used a ham bone instead of bacon.