Sprinkle beef cubes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Heat oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add meat; cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to plate.
To drippings in pot, add onion and water. Cover; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes.
Return meat to pot. Stir in barbecue sauce, paprika, pepper and remaining salt. Cover; simmer over low heat until meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours. (If stew thickens too much during cooking, add a little water -- about 1/2 cup.) Serve immediately, over noodles if desired.