In a large frying pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to cool.
Drain all but 2 tbsp of bacon grease from the frying pan, then add the sliced onions and sprinkle them with the salt and sugar. Over medium-low heat, sauté the onions until they are soft and golden brown, stirring frequently. This will take about 15 minutes, during which time you can crumble the bacon and add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot, except for the water.
When the onions are golden brown and soft, add them to the crockpot as well.
When the frying pan has cooled a bit, carefully pour the water into the pan and gently scrape up the browned bits of bacon and onion from the bottom. Pour it into the crockpot.
Mix everything together thoroughly.
Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 6 hours.
Serve on buns, or over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles, as desired.