Recipe: BBQ Baked Beans

1 pound navy beans, soaked over night or par cooked
1 pound spicy sausage*
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
Soak beans over night or par-cook until they just begin to soften, about 40 minutes. Drain, set aside. When ready to cook, heat oven to 350F.
In a large dutch oven, brown sausage* (see below for vegan version). Skim off all but a tablespoon of rendered fat. Add onions, garlic (mushrooms and red peppers, if vegan) and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes then add garlic. Cook additional minute and stir in tomato paste. Cook additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining ingredients; stir in  beans. Adjust seasonings. It should be spicy, savory and sweet. The flavors will deepen as it bakes. Add enough vegetable stock to make sure the beans are submerged. Bake until beans are softened, about 2 hours. Add more stock if needed during the baking.
For the vegan version, replace the sausage with 1 small diced red pepper and 8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped, sauteed in olive oil.
*The brand of sausage I chose was Parks Hot n Sagey Sausage, available in most freezer grocery aisles. Any spicy sausage will do, just add a bit more ground sage.