Homemade Machaca Recipe

This machaca recipe makes the perfect dried beef from northern Mexico that is used to make from delicious breakfasts, to tacos, burritos and quesadillas.

Make it at home using your stove or oven and enjoy one of the most traditional Mexican basic recipes.

A bowl with homemade machaca.

What is machaca?

Machaca or carne seca is a northern Mexican preparation made by sun drying slices of beef until it was practically cooked. The meat will be then pound until crumbled and almost pulverized, making it perfect to store for long periods of time without the need of refrigeration.

Traditional Machaca won’t have any spices or seasonings besides salt, but modern recipes includes other additional ingredients such as chilies, garlic, peppers, etc. This preparation is often used to make burritos or to add it to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Burritos made with machaca and served with salsa.
Machaca Burritos

How it taste?

Like salted beef. That’s it, if you make it using only salt for seasoning. If you use other spices, it will acquire a different taste aswell. Think of beef jerky, but with a finer texture.

A blue bowl with machaca beef seen from above.

The homemade version

Even though Machaca can be find at many Mexican supermarkets, truth is there’s rarely available worldwide so your best option is to make it at home. It takes a little effort and time to make, but you can do large batches and keep it stored for several months.

Since leaving the meat to dry under the sun doesn’t seems like a good idea, specially if living in a city, a homemade version can be done by cooking it on the stove or the oven.

What meat to use

Brisket is always my first choice, but other cuts such as top sirloin or chuck roast are also perfect to make this recipe. Just be sure to ask your butcher to cut the meat as finely as possible as this is key to dry out the beef.

Showing how thin the meat slices are.

Our tips for making machaca at home

  • Keep it simple. The less spices you add, the most strong beef flavor will have.
  • If you want to cut yourself the meat, place it first in the freezer to harden it a little, it would be easier to cut it into thin slices.
  • Make it drier. After you make it, place it on a large baking tray, spreading it all over. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave it at room temperature overnight.
  • If you want to use a food processor to shred the meat, go ahead, but be aware that the texture won’t be as finer as it is suppose to be.

Machaca Recipe Step By Step

Generously season the meat with salt on both sides. Place on a plate and keep it covered while making the recipe.

The meat slices placed on a plate and seasoned with salt.

Place an iron cast skillet or a large pan over medium heat until smoky. Set heat to the lowest and arrange one or two beef slices making sure none of the pieces are touching or folded.

Cooking beef on a pan.

Cook flipping the meat from time to time. You’ll notice that first it will release a little bit juice and take a evenly color.

The meat half cooked through.

Then, after about 10 minutes, it will have a darker color and be completely dry.

Beef complete cooked.

Repeat the steps for cooking with all slices, making sure you place them in a single layer to allow them to cool down.

Cut the meat into small pieces, so it will be easier to pound.

Cutting meat on a wooden board.

Place a small bunch of cooked beef into a mortar or a molcajete. Start smashing slowly first to break the meat, then more harder to finely crumbled it.

A collage of 4 photos showing how to pound the meat.

Keep working until you’ll finish all meat. It will take you a while, so get some help or take small breaks between batches.

How To Store

Spread shredded beef in a single layer on a large tray, cover with a kitchen towel and leave it in the countertop overnight. Next day store in zip bags and store in the refrigerator for one week or freeze for up to 3 months.

How To Cook In The Oven

Preheat the oven to o 140°F (60°C). Arrange the meat on one or two oven racks and place it on the middle. Bake until the meat has dried out (about 2 hours) flipping it every 30 minutes and rotating the tray every now and then to cook evenly.

Allow to cool down and proceed with the recipe.

How To Use It

Machaca recipe.

Machaca

This machaca recipe makes the perfect dried beef from northern Mexico that is used to make from delicious breakfasts, to tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
PREP 1 hour
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 2 hours
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 1
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2 lb beef brisket (cut into thin slices)
  • salt

Instructions

  • Generously season the meat with salt on both sides. Place on a plate and keep it covered while making the recipe.
  • Place an iron cast skillet or a large pan over medium heat until smoky. Set heat to the lowest and arrange one or two beef slices making sure none of the pieces are touching or folded.
  • Cook flipping the meat from time to time. You’ll notice that first it will release a little bit juice and take a evenly color (READ NOTES).
  • Then, after about 10 minutes, it will have a darker color and be completely dry.
  • Repeat the steps for cooking with all slices, making sure you place them in a single layer to allow them to cool down.
  • Cut the meat into small pieces.
  • Place a small bunch of cooked beef into a mortar or a molcajete. Start smashing slowly first to break the meat, then more harder to finely crumble it.
  • Keep working until you’ll finish all meat. It will take you a while, so get some help or take small breaks between batches.

NOTES

How To Cook In The Oven
Preheat the oven to o 140°F (60°C). Arrange the meat on one or two oven racks and place it on the middle. Bake until the meat has dried out (about 2 hours) flipping it every 30 minutes and rotating the tray every now and then to cook evenly.
Allow to cool down and proceed with the recipe.
Nutrition
Calories: 1406kcal | Protein: 188g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 562mg | Sodium: 717mg | Potassium: 2994mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 17mg
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