Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a medium oven-safe pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring, until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes; remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon to drain. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the drippings in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until the color deepens, about 1 more minute. Add the root beer, vinegar, molasses, mustard, red pepper flakes and garam masala to the pot. Stir, then bring to a boil. Add the beans and three-quarters of the bacon and gently stir so the beans don't lose their shape. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until thick, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then top with the remaining bacon.
Photograph by Paul Sirisalee
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira for Food Network Magazine