Sort and wash beans; place in large Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans. Bring beans to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and set aside.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt over sides of ham hocks.
Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven; brown ham hocks 3 minutes on each side.
Add reserved beans, remaining seasoned salt, 4 cups water, garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaf and pepper and stir to blend. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender.