1. First thing in the morning, put the beans in the crock pot. Pick out any stones. If you don’t have a crock pot, use a stock pot or Dutch oven.
2. Cover with filtered water (about an inch or two higher than the beans).
3. Set the crock pot on warm for a couple of hours, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 24 hours. (If using a stock pot, turn on the heat and just bring the water up to warm. Then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 24 hours).
4. The next morning, drain the beans in a colander and rinse well.
5. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Dice the bacon and add it to the pot. Fry the bacon until crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes.
6. Peel and dice the onions, adding to the pot. Cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Peel and mince the garlic. Add the garlic and the beans to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
8. Increase the heat, stir in the chicken stock and bay leaves, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the beans for about 2 hours, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
9. Add in the honey and or date sugar, ketchup, and mustard. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and flavors have come together.
10. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you want to use just honey, you can substitute honey instead of date sugar (or vice versa). Use as little honey or date sugar as you can get away with.
If you don’t have homemade ketchup or can’t find fruit-sweetened ketchup, you can use tomato paste.