Cut three slits in the side meat and rinse it with warm water. Place it in a pot with the water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Wash the beans, break them into 1- to 2-inch pieces, removing the ends and add them to the pot. Bring the water to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low and cook the beans slowly, stirring often, for about two hours. Add a little hot water if needed. There should be very little water left in the pot when the beans are done.