Vaca Frita (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Total Time
10hrs 30mins
Prep 8 hrs
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins

Absolutely wonderful! Simmered beef marinated overnight in lime, lemon and garlic, then sauteed with onion until slightly crispy (then I like to blast it with more fresh-squeezed lime juice!). The technique is almost like making homemade roast beef hash (without the potato). Prep time includes marinating beef overnight. Cook time is combination of two days (simmering of beef, then sauteeing).

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Simmer roast with bay leaves in a Dutch oven on the stove until tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  2. Cool at room temperature; reserve cooking water for another use if you wish.
  3. When beef is cool, shred and place in a glass container.
  4. Combine lime juice, lemon juice and garlic; mix into meat.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and marinate overnight.
  6. (The sirloin roast is excellent at"soaking up" the juices!) Next day, remove meat from marinade, squeezing excess liquid (if you need to; I normally don't) and fry in a large skillet in olive oil until slightly brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Add thin onion slices and parsley and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until onion is tender and meat is well-browned.
  8. Squeeze more lime juice on meat and serve over rice.


Most Helpful

I'm sorry, but this recipe started out on the wrong foot the moment it suggests using a sirloin roast or chuck roast. I've been eating vaca frita my entire life, and it is made with flank or skirt steak ("falda" in Spanish). And letting it sit in lime for so long overpowers the taste of the beef, as mentioned by other reviewers. I guess this may work as a "mock" vaca frita!

Chicocooks April 01, 2013

Made this last weekend. I found the sirloin roast to be very tough even after sitting in the lemon/lime juice. I found the next day that the lemon/lime flavor sort of over powered and I was not too happy about it. I added a splash of white wine and that seemed to round things out a bit. I have since tried another recipe from a cuban site and I found it much more appealing. This was good and we had a nice meal from it but the lemon/lime flavor was just too heavy for us and the sirloin just wasn't the way to go with this. Sorry, but thanks anyway.

Ilysse June 23, 2006

My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe. I modified it a bit. Instead of cooking in water, I cooked in a crock pot and after I shredded, followed the rest of the recipe. Thanks!

H C. May 23, 2006

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