This is a very old & popular recipe from my hometown of Sunbury, PA. I love most styles of baked beans, but this the only way I make them. So easy. The flavor of the bacon simmering within the beans is what gives this such amazing taste, I think.
For those of you who are used to all the ketchup & additions to baked beans, you will be surprised the intense flavor you get from this recipe! You can halve this recipe, as this serves a LOT.
I like to freeze the bacon first so that it is easy to cut. Cut the bacon up in bite-sized pieces.
Drain the beans, reserving the liquid in a big bowl! Make sure you don't discard the bean liquid. Put the beans in a 9 x 13 or larger pan. (I have used a Dutch Oven for this too).
To the bean liquid, add the diced bacon and mix in sugar, vinegar, diced onion, bacon & black pepper. Pour over top of beans & stir.
Bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours. The bacon will get nice & brown. You will want to stir every hour or more often to ensure even cooking. I add a little bit of water every once in awhile when I stir, if it seems as if the liquid is being too absorbed. Be very generous w/ sprinkling black pepper often, as well. I have never salted the beans or this dish, as the bacon gives it plenty of salt flavor, I have found. You also can pop all of this in the crockpot & cook on low, then brown a bit in the oven when you are ready.