- 1 pound dried navy beans, picked over and soaked overnight in water to cover
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 pound cured salt pork, trimmed of any tough skin, large diced
- 4 ounces sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 ¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Drain the beans and put them in a large pot with 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the bay leaves. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are soft and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’s important that the beans are fully cooked at this point. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes in the cooking liquid, then drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid separately.
Preheat a grill to 325 degrees F with a position on the grill suitable for indirect cooking.
Heat a large heavy grillproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the salt pork and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is golden and has rendered much of its fat, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, bourbon, molasses, cider vinegar, mustard, black pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining ½ teaspoon cayenne. Return the beans to the pot and stir in 1 ½ cups of the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot, and then transfer the beans to the grill over indirect heat.
Cover the grill and cook the beans, stirring every 30 minutes, until they are very tender, with a thick and flavorful glaze-like coating, usually 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours. Keep in mind that the beans will continue to thicken as they sit. Should the beans need more liquid, you can add a bit of the remaining cooking liquid or just a bit of warm tap water. Remove from the grill and remove the bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve hot or warm.