Drain the beans, turn them into a heavy 6-quart pot that can go into the oven, add water to cover them by 3 inches. Stir in the allspice, 2 of the garlic cloves, and 1 of the chopped onions. Simmer about 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender but not falling apart. Drain the beans, keeping their liquid. Clean the pot.
Set over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until it has given off most of its fat. Spoon off all but about 3 tablespoons. Stir in the rest of the onion and saute until soft. Add the rest of the garlic, cooking about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar vinegar, mustard, Tabasco, a good amount of black pepper, and the beans. Add about 2 cups of their liquid, or enough to make a slightly soupy mixture. Bring to a simmer and taste for sweet-tart balance and salt.
Bake covered in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours. Uncover and bake another 30 to 45 minutes, or until beans are thick and look almost glazed. As the beans bake, taste for more vinegar, and other seasonings. Serve hot. They rewarm beautifully.
© Copyright 1999 Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.