Begin by dicing the bacon, onions, peppers, celery, and garlic.
Heat a medium-sized pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook until just about crispy.
Then add onions, celery, and green bell pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add minced garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes - you don't want the garlic to burn, just get aromatic.
Now add the thyme, kosher salt, and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and toss to coat the vegetables.
Next, add the black-eyed peas (rinsed and picked through for bad beans and rocks - but not soaked at all) and stir. (Pictures 5 - 6)
Add ham hock, then cover with chicken broth. (Pictures 7 - 9) Stir, then add bay leaves. (Picture 10)
Now, bring broth to a rolling boil and stir. Then decrease heat and keep the beans at a low simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. (Tip: Toward the end of the cooking time, cook white rice according to the package directions - or use an Instant Pot to make Perfect White Rice. )
Remove the Hoppin' John from heat when the beans are cooked but not mushy.