When cooking white beans (Great Northern Beans), I have found it is not necessary to soak the dried beans the night before if you cook them in a crockpot or slow cooker. (If you still want to soak them, put them in a pot of very hot water for about an hour, cover with pot lid, drain, then cook them in the crockpot or slow cooker.)
1Rinse and drain white beans, removing any "rocks" or dried up looking beans. Put beans in a crockpot, add water, covering beans. Add bacon drippings, red pepper flakes and ham carcass (or cut up a ham steak into small pieces.) Cook on high until all are good and hot, about 2 hours. Turn temperature to low and continue to cook until beans are tender, about 4-5 hour, depending on crockpot or slow cooker. Remove ham and let cool. Trim ham from bone and fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return ham pieces to white beans. Any leftover beans are good to make white chili. Be careful adding more salt as your ham is going to be salty. **If you don't have any ham, add a small piece of fat back or salt pork to the beans while cooking.