Rinse beans. Place in a large saucepan and add 6 cups cold water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, omit simmering; soak beans in cold water overnight in the covered saucepan.) Drain and rinse the beans; set aside.
Trim fat from ribs. Season ribs with salt and pepper. In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs in the skillet, half at a time, on both sides. Remove and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven cook the onions, carrots, potatoes, and garlic for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer the beans to a 5-1/2- to 6-quart crockery cooker. Add the barley and vegetables. Sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with ribs. Pour 2-1/2 cups beef stock or broth over all. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 6 hours.
OR, for cooking on stovetop, remove the onion mixture from the Dutch oven and set aside. Stir the beans and barley into the same Dutch oven. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with ribs. Pour 3-1/2 cups beef stock or broth over all. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 45 mintues. Stir in onion mixture. Simmer, covered, 1 hour more or until meat and beans are tender. Makes 6 to 8 servings.