Photo by Zorymar Martinez

Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded Beef)

Cuisine: Venezuelan

Shredded beef is one of those dishes I usually make for very special occasions because, honestly, shredding or ‘pulling’ the beef does take a bit of effort and patience. However, it’s also true that I feel very proud when I present non-Venezuelans with a plate of shredded beef, rice, tajadas and black beans, showcasing our ‘pabellón criollo’… It doesn’t get more Venezuelan than that! This version of shredded beef is a mix between the recipe in the book Mi Cocina by Armando Scannone and my memories of how my grandma Pancha used to prepare this dish.


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  1. Clean the beef making sure to take off most of the fat. Make consecutive cuts in order to achieve a thickness of between 1 to 2 centimeters (between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch). Mix all ingredients listed for the beef marinade and cover beef with the mix. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven broiler. Scrape the marinate off the beef and place beef on a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Cook in the oven under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes per side, until cooked. Take beef out of the oven and proceed to shred by separating into ‘strands’. Use a couple of forks, a knife, your hands or all of the above! The strands don’t need to be uniform in size or thickness.
  3. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a sauce pan or large frying pan. Place the tomatoes, onion and red pepper in a blender to liquefy and then add to the preheated oil. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the shredded beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup, mixing well to incorporate all ingredients. Cover and let simmer at medium-low heat, stirring often, for around 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and all the flavors are incorporated into the beef. Add salt or pepper to taste if necessary.
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