In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.
Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings, cook beef until meat is no longer pink; drain.
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the potatoes, carrots, corn and barley. Top with beef mixture and bacon.
Combine the broth, tomatoes, gravy and pepper; pour over top (do not stir).
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir before serving. Serve over mashed potatoes if desired.