Wash and pick over dry beans. Combine with 2 quarts water and soak overnight.
In a pot, heat 4 tablespoons bacon drippings. Add garlic and chopped vegetables; sauté lightly. Add remaining water.
Drain beans and add to pot. Stir in pepper flakes and thyme leaves. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
In a skillet, sauté ham and sausage with remaining bacon drippings. When meat is lightly browned, add to stockpot. Continue cooking for about 45 minutes, or until beans are tender but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper and, if desired, more red pepper flakes. Serve with rice.Makes 4 Source: