Before my gypsy soul led me to Los Angeles, I spent a few years growing up on a pig farm. With seven sisters. Eight girls, startling close in age, running around like ferrel children on endless acres of farmland. Although I learned to drive a tractor before I could drive a car, maneuver a 300 pound pig anywhere I wanted him to go using just a 5 gallon bucket, and how to milk goats, these are skill that don’t really come in handy in a more urban area.
One useful skill that farm livin’ did teach me was how to grill meat and what to serve with it. This was the first occurrence of beer cooking in my life, the meat was always marinated in a mixture of barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and beer (Coors light I’m sad to say). Two sides were always, ALWAYS served alongside any meat that came off the grill: potato salad and baked beans. Potato salad and I have our issues, mostly the cringe inducing overuse of mayonnaise. But baked beans I never passed up. I like mine deep in flavor, and not too sweet. If you like your baked beans on the sweet side, add 1/4 cup brown sugar. If you like your potato salad swimming in mayo, you’re on your own.
Add the beans to a large bowl. Cover with water, refrigerate overnight (8 to 12 hours). Drain. (alternately, you can add the beans to a pot of water, bring to a boil, allow to boil for 3 minutes, turn off heat and allow to soak for 1 hour. Drain).
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat, remove bacon from pan. Add the onions to the bacon grease, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Chop the bacon.
Add the bacon, onions, drained beans and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook for 14 hours on low, or 8 hours on high, stirring every hour or so.