If using dried black-eyed peas, rinse the peas and place in a large ovenproof pot. Cover with one inch of water and add the salt. Bring the pot to a boil, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer the pot covered for 1 hour and then remove the lid. Continue to simmer the peas until tender and soft (but not completely mushy), which can take anywhere from 30 more minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the age of the peas. (If the water gets too low, add a little more to the pot). When the peas are tender and soft, drain the peas reserving the cooking liquid. If using canned black-eyed peas, simply drain them, also reserving the liquid.
To make the barbecue baked black-eyed peas, preheat the oven to 350°F. In the same pot that you cooked the peas, on medium-low heat, cook the chopped bacon while occasionally stirring just until some of the fat is rendered, but not crisp, about 3 minutes. You want it to be underdone. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spatula, and place on a paper-towel lined plate leaving the rendered fat in the pot. Leaving the pot heated on medium-low, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Turn off the heat.
Pour the black-eyed peas into the pot. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, chili powder, cayenne, bacon, and 2 cups of the reserved bean liquid (if there’s not enough add water to make up the difference). Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, and add salt.
Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes covered. After this time, remove the lid and continue to cook uncovered for 30-45 more minutes or until the beans are your desired consistency (I like my beans a little on the dry side, but you may prefer yours soupier). Serve warm.
If you prefer, any bean such as lima, pinto, black, or navy, would work well in this recipe, too.