DAY 1: Put the beans in a large pot, add hot water to cover, and let soak overnight.
DAY 2: Combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl. Makes 1/4 cup plus 1-1/2 teaspoons.
Drain the beans. Place the bacon in a 5-quart pot over high heat. Cover and cook, uncovering to stir once or twice, until crispy. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, and bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot, cover and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of seasoning mix and drained beans; scrape the pot bottom. Cover pot and cook, occasionally scraping bottom of the pot, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and scrape pot bottom well. Cover and cook, stirring from time to time, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, 2 cups of the chicken stock, and 2 tablespoons of seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Add 2 cups more of stock, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes. Stir in the remaining seasoning mix, if you like your beans highly seasoned, and the remaining 1 cup stock. Cover and cook until beans are tender, about 20 minutes.
Serve in bowls with warm rice.