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Machaca: Jerky by Another Name

Taking a detour this post from traditional jerky to a ‘south-of-the-border’ jerky called machaca. [1]  This started out with my trying to find some good recipes for making enchiladas and tacos using traditional jerky.  But . . . since I couldn’t find any, changed directions on finding some good recipes using machaca which is made in a similar fashion.  So let’s get started !


To make machaca, you will marinade the beef, cook it, shred it and only then will it be dried if desired.   Note:  While machaca was often dried for use ‘on the trail’ in olden days as drying gave it a longer life, it is more often immediately used today to make enchiladas, tacos or quesadillas – with any leftovers frozen to enjoy later.



A beef that shreds well should be selected, i.e.., skirt steak, brisket, etc.  And, if the cut is large –  say 2-3 lbs. – cut it into portions that are about one pound each. This will allow for better marinating and more even cooking.

The process of cooking machaca is to braise the marinated meat on high heat to sear it, add liquid to meat*, reduce heat to low simmer and cook – then shred.

* The liquid can be oil, tomatoes, vegetables, etc.


Basic Marinade for Machaca [1]


  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil

Note: You can also add in other ingredients to suit your taste, ie, cayenne if you like hot.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Add beef (1 lb. size pieces)  making sure all sides are coated
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight
  4. To use: Drain thoroughly and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before starting cooking process










Machaca Recipe [1]



  • 2-3 marinated beet cut into 1 lb portions
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper minced (optional & don’t forget remove seeds & wash your hands immediately after mincing)
  • 1 14oz. can tomatoes (diced) – with or without green chilies
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco, Srirachi)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • vegetable or olive oil for searing


  1. Heat oil -(medium-high heat) in large pot until very hot
  2. Sear beef to rich brown color (number seared together will depend on size of pot)
  3. Remove beef from pot and add onions, peppers and garlic – saute
  4. Add in remaining ingredients along with beef
  5. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate
  6. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for about 2 hours (Meat should be fork tender and fall apart when done)
  7. Remove meat to cutting board and shred with forks
  8. Return to pot and cook/simmer, uncovered to reduce liquid. Meat should be almost dry
  9. Serve or use for enchiladas, tacos or quesadillas.


For other recipes, please visit this link  and for another variation of how to make  machaca, check out  this link.




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