Pick over the lentils, rinse, and drain. Place the lentils along with the onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pork into a 6-quart saucepan and cover with water by 2 to 3 inches. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and discard the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and salt pork. Stir in black pepper and taste for salt. Set aside.