Jeff's Prime Rib Soup
Main Dishes, Soups

Primo Prime Rib Soup


Awesome son that I am, I made a really tasty Roast Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Crust for my dad and step-mom and the rest of the family at Christmas this past year, and it rocked!  Cheap son that I am, I also wanted to be sure I made the most of the pricey cut that I’d bought, so I looked for a way to use the meaty prime rib bones that were left over after the Christmas dinner.

I found several soup options, but the best one I found was a Prime Rib Beef Barley Soup over at   I adapted it, made it, and took pretty pictures, and it was excellent.  But I hadn’t gotten around to blogging it, because it seemed like something extravagant that people pretty rarely have on hand, and therefore not a particularly useful recipe for the folks we imagine to be our readership here.

But then this summer, at my annual Hoot in the Hills camping trip, my buddy Shockley made an amazing prime rib dinner on the bbq, and when leftovers were parceled out, I humbly just asked for the bones.  🙂

So this perfect Fall weekend, when it is cool and drizzly outside, we’re making the prime rib soup again, and since we’re having it twice in a year, it seemed like a good time to share the recipe.  Instead of thinking of it as a “richie-rich-we-eat-prime-rib-all-the-time-and-you-don’t” recipe, we’ll consider it an “OMG-I-can’t-afford-to-waste-any-of-this-expensive-prime-rib-I-cooked recipe” more in keeping with my normally thrifty and utilitarian ethic.

When I did it at Christmas, I had a little bit of leftover meat I threw into the soup as well, but this time I just have the bones, so I’m going to add a little bit of leftover smoked brisket to the soup, because, well, I need a lot of meat in a soup if I’m going to consider it a meal…

Dem bones, dem bones, dem prime rib bones…
We didn’t leave a lot of extra prime rib meat, but there was enough left for soup!
The rest of the raw materials for prime rib soup–not too complicated
Everything in the pot!
Lookin’ like soup!
Bones pulled out of the soup and ready to de-meat
All the stewed meat, shredded and ready to go back in
Ahhh yeah! That there is some good soup!
Ahhh yeah! That there is some good soup!
Prime Rib and Barley Soup
Weight Watchers Info: 4.5 PointsPlus per serving (if add 4 oz. extra beef) or 5 PointsPlus per serving (if add 8oz. extra beef)
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 4 or 5 Bone beef rib roast
  • 4-8 oz. Leftover prime rib or other beef
  • 1.5 Quarts water
  • 1.5 Quarts beef broth
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 Cups chopped carrots
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 Cups Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Can green beans (or 1.5 cups chopped fresh green beans)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes (optional to taste)
  • ½ Cup pearl barley
  1. Put all ingredients except barley into a large pot (we use a ceramic cast iron pot)
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Cover, reduce heat and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes
  4. Add barley and cook for another 30 minutes or until barley is tender
  5. Remove bones and meat from pot and let cool enough to handle
  6. Remove meat from bones and chop all meat into bite size pieces
  7. Return meat to pot
  8. Serve (we serve with rolls)
The original recipe states 6 servings, but we end up with more.


  1. Love this! We save EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. At this moment in time, we have in the freezer chicken carcasses, shrimp shells, lobster shells, and corn cobs. (Amongst many other things I won’t mention.) That’s because we like to squeeze every gram of goodness we can out of something edible. I can’t help it – I grew up in an Asian household with parents from a third-world country. We SAVE EVERYTHING! But the good news is, this stuff is gold for soups. Gold. So I’m a fan of your prime rib soup. Because now you’re starting to look cheap, like me. And I like being in good company. 🙂


    • I don’t think saving every last bit for reuse is just an Asian thing…I think it’s more of a socio-economic thing than cultural. Jeff never kept his shells or bones until we started dating (my mom taught me to turn everything into soup later). I was raised by parents born here, but both of whom were born to really poor parents (who survived the Depression) and who miraculously managed to feed big families on just about no budget.

      As an adult responsible for feeding a family now, I’m amazed at far my parents were even able to stretch meals — healthy ones at that — when we were kids.

      I think people like you and me are better off; we’re not wasteful.

  2. Wow, this looks SOOOooo yummy! I’m gonna try it – thanks for posting! I make Turkey and Chicken vegey soup all the time – save all my vegetable water for the start of the stock and I love using leftovers to make more meals. So this is perfect.

  3. A healthier version is to cook the bones separately first in 1/2 water and 1/2 stock, cook till the meat falls off the bones and dice the meat, reserving for later.    Cool the broth some at room temp,  then refrigerate for a few hours till the fat raises to the top of the pot.    Skim it off, add your veggies, the reserved meat, barley, and adjust seasoning accordingly.    Saves a ton of calories!!  

    • Thanks for the comment and checking out the recipe. At 4.5 PointsPlus per serving, this is already just about one of the leanest healthiest meat-based soups one can eat — the equivalent of 2 bananas in Weight Watchers PointsPlus Values and packed with protein.

  4. Veronica Wood

    Hello Jeff and Colleen,

    Kellie came over for prime rib on Christmas and delivered your message about the prime rib soup. I made the soup and we ate it for lunch. Excellent and I was surprised how much meat was on the bones. Thanks for the suggestion. Enjoy the rest of your holidays.

    Veronica Wood (Jacob’s mom)

    • I’m glad you liked it! I was surprised at how much meat could be salvaged as well. I’m going to try it by just buying the cheap beef ribs this winter, and see how it turns out.

  5. Just made this, following the recipe without any changes and using the red pepper flakes, and it is delicious! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  6. Im just making a pot now, but using wild rice instead, living 400 miles west of anchorage we don’t waste the bones, they are the best part and taste good in soups thanks for the recipe

  7. Great photos. The visual step by step is really helpful. Thank you.

  8. The only improvement — prior to adding the veggies and barley, and after cooking the bones, removing the meat, and recooking — let it cool and remove some of the floating fat. Otherwise, it can be a bit greasy.

  9. Teresa Hesse

    Should the pepper measure at 1 Teaspoon NOT 1 Tablespoon. Funny I didn’t see any comments about the soup being waaaay toooo spicy. I was able to save my ingredients however ended up with a winter’s supply of beef barley soup.

  10. I made this for my parents; they absolutely LOVED it. I used no-salt added beef broth, added the red pepper flakes, and it was perfect! Thank you for this recipe.

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