- Sort, cull and inspect beans. Rinse until water drains clear. Cover with old water and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Allow enough water for the beans to almost double in size. After soaking, drain beans and place in a large pot. Cover with fresh water, allowing extra water for the beans to increase in size. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are just tender to the tooth. Remove from heat put beans in an oven proof baking dish with close fitting lid. A cast iron Dutch oven works just fine.
- Peel and fine dice onion. Peel and dice apple. In a frying pan with 1 tablespoon bacon fat, saute onions and apples until onions just begin to brown and apples turn soft. Add to the beans
- Add ham, tomato sauce, chicken broth, sugar, molasses, mustard, vinegar and spices. Stir and mix well while heating over medium high heat. Add water or more chicken broth to make 12 cups (about 1-inch below the rim of your Dutch oven. Cover and place in oven heating to 450°F. After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 225°F and bake for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, check beans, Add water as needed to keep liquid at the level of the beans. Stir. Replace cover and bake an additional 2 to 3 hours as needed to make beans tender and sauce thickened.