Vaca Frita

"I was 'turned on' to Vaca Frita after a good friend of mine married a man of Cuban descent. I was glad she did (marry him) because I discovered many good recipes since then and this one is my favorite."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
1hr 45mins


  • 1 12 lbs skirt steaks
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • To Finish the Dish

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or 3 tablespoons sour orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced as thinly as possible


  • Combine the beef, quartered onion, tomato, carrot, and garlic cloves with 6 cups of water in a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Skim off the scum that rises to the surface.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer the beef, uncovered, skimming often, until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Strain the meat, discard broth or save for another use.
  • Let the meat cool.
  • Using the tip of a knife, or your fingertips, tear the meat, along the grain, into the thinnest possible shreds.
  • Toss the meat with the minced garlic, salt, and lime juice in a mixing bowl.
  • Let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or as long as overnight.
  • About 5 minutes before serving, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan until smoking.
  • Add the meat and saute over medium-high heat until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer the meat to plates or a platter with a slotted spoon or tongs.
  • Add the sliced onion to the pan and fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Top the Vaca Frita with the fried onion and serve at once, preferably with white rice and black beans.

Questions & Replies

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  1. ~SwoR~
    This was very tasty. I really liked the lime flavor. I had to use canned tomatoes because all I could find here at the moment would not have been a pleasant addition. (I did take that into consideration when rating) It is easy to prepare and I served it with rice. I think I would also like it on toasted bread. I may try it with the sour orange juice next time for my husband.
  2. docjunkie
    This recipe was very good... next time I make it though, I need to let it marinate for more than an hour. The texture was amazing, and reminded me of some of the amazing cuban restaurants I've been to in Miami. I think if I let it marinate overnight, however, it'd have more of the "kick" that I'm used to with Vaca Frita.



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