1any sizeham bonea few smoked ham hockes can be substituted
1/2tsp.red pepper flakes
1tsp.ground black pepper
3cupsdiced hamadd after the beans are cooked to avoid cooking the flavor out.
Clean the beans in water and discard any little rocks or other debris. Soak the beans in water for at least 3 hours or until the next day. When you are ready to start the soup, drain and rinse the beans.
Put all the ingredients except the ham into the crock pot. There should be enough water to cover the beans. If not, add just enough to cover.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours. After two hours check every hour or so until they are done. Taste the beans to make sure they are tender. They will be slightly creamy and very soft without coming apart. Overcooking will result in a thicker soup with less texture.
Remove the ham bone and discard. Add the 3 cups of diced ham and stir to combine. The soup can be held on the "keep warm" setting for a few hours if you are not ready to serve yet.
Serve with hunks of crusty bread, oyster crackers or hot sauce as desired.
Note on Cooking Time: Remember that all slow cookers cook at different rates. The cooking time yours requires may differ from mine.