Version 1 Tradtional
Soak beans overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 325°F Place the baking soda in a Dutch oven and fill half way with water.
Bring to a boil, add the beans & boil for 10 minutes.
Drain beans in a colander and run cold water through them. Set aside.
Dice the salt pork (available in the bacon section of the grocery store)into 1-inch squares.
Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of the bean pot, along with the onion.
Put beans in the pot.
Put the remaining salt pork on top of the beans.
Mix the sugar, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper with 3 cups of hot water and pour over the beans.
Cover pot with lid and place the pot into the preheated oven.
Bake for 6 hours.
Check pot periodically to make sure the amount of liquid is okay.
Add water to the beans slowly as needed to keep them moist; DO NOT FLOOD THEM. Just "top them up".
Remove the pot from the oven and serve.
Version 2- Slow cooker Method
Soak beans over night and drain the next morning.
Mix the molasses, brown sugar, mustard and cloves in 3 cups of hot water.
Line the bottom of slow cooked with 1/2 the bacon. Layer with 1/2 the beans and top with onions. Add remaining beans and bacon, pour the molasses mixture over the beans to just cover.
Cover ad cook in slow cooker on low setting for 8 hours or 250o oven. Check the water level after a few hours, add more if required.