Rinse and pick through the dried beans to remove any shriveled, broken, discolored or blemished beans, loose skins and other debris. Place the beans in a large bowl; add water to the beans until the water is covering by 2 to 3 inches over the beans. Soak overnight.
Rinse the soaked beans and then pour them into the crock-pot; cover with water covering by about ½-inch over beans. Peel and quarter onion the onion; add it to the beans in the crock-pot. Leave the bacon whole, but cut the strips in half; place it on top (It will break up during cooking). Add the onion and garlic powder. Place the lid on and cook on LOW 9 to 10 hours or 7 to 8 hours on HIGH. Christina recommended that you give the beans a good stir every hour or so to help the bacon and onion break down.
After they have finished cooking, taste. Add salt and additional onion or garlic powder if needed; season to taste.
Remove about half of the beans with a slotted spoon into a bowl; set aside. With a potato masher, mash the remaining beans right in the pot until preferred consistency. When the beans are mashed, add the whole beans back in; stir to incorporate.
Add butter, stir until melted. Add the evaporated milk and cheese; crockpot until combined.
Allow to cook on low for another 15 minutes, then they are ready to eat! Or, if you have a warm setting, switch to that and let 'em sit until you are ready.
Freezer Friendly: These refried beans freeze extremely well in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.Recipe adapted from my sweet friend Christina.
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