Colombian carne desmechada (shredded beef)

Carne desmechada

Who doesn’t like a good BBQ right? There’s something about the entire BBQ experience that suggests good weather, good friends, good times ♫ ♫ But, unless you are willing to buy everything processed, BBQ’s can be faffy and time consuming. Well, fear not! I have the perfect alternative for you. Also a great choice if you are planning to be out and about all day and want to go back home to a fabulous meal without the fuss and the hard work. The only rule is: This is definitely one to share with your loved ones!

Carne desmechada & arepas

I like to eat carne desmechada (shredded beef) on top of arepas (corn cakes) but it also goes beautifully with any kind of potatoes, burger buns, taco shells, rice or pretty much anything you can think of. The arepas are super quick and easy to make. If you’ve never had them before, keep an eye on my Instagram account: @notjustfishfingers, I’ll upload a video of the process very soon!

Carne desmechada (Shredded beef)

This is a very popular dish in South America, also called Ropa Vieja in Cuba. Although I’m always up for anything that makes your life easier, I really think this dish benefits from using fresh tomatoes. Not only it allows you to taste the meat better, but also makes the dish less acidic.


  • Rump joint, fat still on, about 100g per person
  • Fresh tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped (about 1 tomato per 100g of meat)
  • Finely chopped onion to taste (I use 1 medium white onion per 4-6 tomatoes)
  • Finely chopped garlic to taste (I use a couple of cloves per 4-6 totamotes)
  • Stock to cover the joint. I use vegan bouillon
  • A little oil for searing the meat and frying the vegetables


Slow cooker or oven in slow cook setting


Drizzle a little oil in a pan and sear the meat uniformly over a high heat. Once the meat is lovely and brown remove from the heat and transfer onto a slow cooker. Cover with stock of your choice and allow it to cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Once the meat is fully cooked and supper tender, remove from the slow cooker but keep some of the stock. Allow it to cool until you can shred the meat with your fingers.

In the meantime fry the chopped onion and garlic in a pan over a low heat until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a few minutes. Add a little bit of the stock (a tbsp. or two for really big joints) and allow everything to cook over a low heat until the entire liquid has been absorbed. Don’t be tempted to add tomato paste or herbs, trust me you don’t need them.

Mix the sauce with the shredded beef and enjoy!

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