When buying barley, look for hulled or hull-less varieties over pearl. The former take longer to cook, but they pack more fiber because their outer layers are intact.
Bring a pot of water to a boil; season generously with salt. Add barley; reduce heat to a low, steady simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until chewy and tender, 55 to 60 minutes. Drain. Use immediately, or spread on a rimmed baking sheet to let cool. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.