Chop 6 slices of bacon into large chunks and fry in a large skillet until crispy. Once the bacon is fried, remove it and place it on a paper towel lined plate.
Chop the onion and slice the carrots and celery into small, thin pieces. Add the veggies to the same pan you cooked the bacon in (leave the grease in there to really develop some flavors) and saute for 5 minutes just until the veggies have started to cook. It's okay if they aren't fully cooked they will soften up and finish in the slow cooker. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant.
Add all the ingredients to a large crockpot. Cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH and 6-8 hours on LOW or until the beans are soft and the ham is tender and cooked through.
After the soup has cooked, remove the ham shanks from the slow cooker and shred the meat off the bone and return it to the crockpot. Stir the soup, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Scoop out your desired amount of soup into a serving bowl and top with hot sauce, fresh parsley, cornbread and I like to sprinkle more black pepper over mine. Enjoy!
Bacon Tip: If you want you can make the bacon ahead of time in the air fryer, or oven and skip frying the bacon. Do this will save you some time, but you will not be able to saute the veggies in the bacon fat. If you make the bacon ahead of time add some butter to the veggies when cooking them.Leftover Storage: Store leftover soup in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.