Prepared with dried beans, you'll need to begin this recipe a day in advance.
Place the sorted and rinsed beans into a large bowl and cover the beans with the cold water. Allow the beans to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Pour the beans and their soaking water into a large stockpot. Add more water (if needed) to cover the beans at least 3 inches.
Add the white onion halves, garlic, and the bay leaf to the pot and simmer the beans for 1-2 hours, or until they are al dente.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid for later.*
Pour the beans into a lightly-greased roasting pan, then set them to the side while you make the BBQ sauce.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Over medium-high heat, brown the bacon and pork sausage in a skillet.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to the roasting pan with the beans. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
Add the chopped green bell pepper, onion, garlic, and sliced jalapeño to the hot skillet. Sauté these over medium-high heat until they are glossy and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the aromatics to the bean pan as well.
Deglaze the skillet with the Dr. Pepper, using your spoon to scrape up any browned bits of food from the bottom of the pan.
Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then allow it to reduce by half.
Once the liquid has reduced, decrease the heat and bring the liquid to simmer.
Add the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, Meat Spice Blend, worcestershire, ground mustard, and liquid smoke to the pan, then use your whisk to mix everything together until smooth.
Allow the sauce to continue simmering until thickened to the consistency of bottled BBQ sauce. If you find the sauce is too thick, thin it with a cup of the reserved bean liquid.**
Once your BBQ sauce has thickened, pour it over the beans in the roasting pan.
Stir the sauce into the beans, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour.
Remove the pan from the oven and stir the beans well. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking- covered- for an additional 1-2 hours, or until the sauce is very thick and the beans are tender.
(If you want a sauce that is extra-thick, cook the beans uncovered for the last half-hour.)
Serve the beans while hot.
*The beans can be prepared, drained, then frozen (after soaking and simmering) for later use.
**The BBQ sauce may be made a day, or two, in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to use.
The finished beans can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to a year.
Substitute Dr. Pepper with your favorite cola, or use beef stock instead. If using beef stock, increase the brown sugar to a 1/2 cup.
To make the recipe using canned baked beans, skip the soaking and simmering step and use 4 15-ounce cans of drained pinto beans instead. Reserve the drained liquid for thinning the BBQ sauce, if necessary.
Reduce baking time to 1 1/2 hours, stirring after 45 minutes.