23. Carne Mechada

Carne Mechada is a slow-cooked and flavorful shredded beef that is an integral part of Venezuelan cuisine. You can serve this over rice with a side of black beans, or as a filling for stuffed peppers or tortillas. However, the most popular and traditional method for serving Carne Mechada is as a filling for Arepas.


3 lbs beef sirloin, or your choice of cut
1/4 cup dry red wine, or to taste
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 onions, chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 small jar of pimentos
2 12 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Make Ahead Preparation:

In a Dutch oven, simmer the beef, wine, onions, garlic and bay leaves until tender, about three hours. Or you can use a crockpot set to low for up to 8 hours. Add more wine, water or beef broth if the meat appears too dry. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and then use two forks to pull apart and shred the meat.

For the sauce, saute the onions and green peppers in the olive oil, then add the meat and remaining ingredients. Simmer another 30 minutes until all the flavors are blended.

Both the sauce and the beef can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for up to one month.

Last Minute Assembly:

Defrost the beef and the sauce. Combine in saucepan and heat until desired temperature.

Serves 10-12.


  1. I don't agree with you about arepas are the most popular way to eat carne mechada, actually carne mechada is a part of our traditional dish: pabellón. Carne mechada is not easy to prepare, by contrast to make arepas is very easy... perhaps when you eat arepas in the street it is normal to eat them with carne mechada, as well as the empanadas... but at home it means a lot of work, so it is better to make a more elaborated dish, like pabellón.

    Anyway, carne mechada rocks :-)

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  3. The blogger is right! Carne Mechada is part of that "sacred trilogy" called PABELLÓN, our national Venezuelan dish. Nonetheless, I am so grateful that you have published a crockpot version of it, because it is a whole lot of work to make it the traditional way. I am going to give your recipe a try and adjust the seasonings according to my family's taste.