1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks (also add 8 oz. ham chunks)
Place beans in a strainer; rinse well and discard any stones or shriveled beans. Place in a large pot. Cover each cup of dried beans with 3 cups of water; let stand for a minimum of 12 hours.
Bring beans to a boil. Add salt and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for an hour. Remove from heat.
Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard and pepper (and ham chunks if using ham hocks). Stud the onion with the cloves. Place it in the slow cooker, along with the ham bone or ham hocks. Pour the beans over the onion and meat. Cook on high for 7 hours.
Remove onion and meat from cooker. Close cover while you remove cloves, cut up onion and remove meat from the bone.
Discard bone and mix the chopped onion and meat back into the beans. If necessary, add more water to keep beans moist but not too wet (or leave lid off to thicken through evaporation).