What’s a Cook to Do with Leftover Barbecued Steak?

We have great family recipes for leftovers, and I imagine every family has their own, especially if the family loves to cook and to eat. Leftover roasted or sautéed poultry, fish or meat can easily be sliced for sandwiches or (fish) tacos, diced for salads, and even chopped and combined with potatoes and onions for hash—yummy when topped with a poached egg. A few days ago, however, we were presented with an unusual leftover: leftover grilled rib steak from a family barbecue. I couldn’t come up with a better idea than sandwiches.

But our son, Aaron, who is visiting for a few days, came up with such a wonderful idea that we turned it into a recipe. What’s more, next time we grill steak, we are going to make sure there are leftovers.

Aaron created this summer soup, redolent of grilled rib steak, enriched (and made healthier) with lots of vegetables, and for that extra smoky flavor: a diced salami stick. A wonderful soup with the smokiness of a summer barbeque and the heartiness that is reminiscent of a winter stew. And it certainly answers the question “what to do with leftover grilled meat?”

The steak has been seasoned and grilled, which adds to the flavor of the soup. Every family has their favorite barbecue seasonings, and here is ours: lemon pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, and basted with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and red wine. In the summer I used chopped ripe garden tomatoes, and in fall, canned tomatoes.

Aaron’s Grilled Summer Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 ½ seasoned, grilled rib steaks, meat cut into chunks, and with bones

1 salami stick cut into chunks

1 zuchinni cut into small chunks

½ cup chunks of peeled russet potato (about ½ potato)

¾ cup chunks of peeled sweet potato (about 1/3 of a sweet potato)

5 white mushrooms, sliced

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice


4 ripe medium tomatoes cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons powdered chicken soup base

6 cups water

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Seasoned salt, to taste

In a 6-quart pot, over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent and tender, but not browned. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for one additional minute, being careful not to burn. Add steak (and bones) and sauté for another minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients. Season sparingly with the salt, pepper and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for 1½ to 2 hours for a deep flavor.

When soup is fully cooked, remove and discard the steak bones, taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and seasoned salt if needed.