15 ratings

Beef Machaca


Beef Machaca

Beef machaca is the shredded Mexican beef you find filling the most delicious tacos and burritos (and I'm not talking about the filling found in those fast-food Mexican food places). Nope, this is the real-deal shredded Mexican beef that fills those Mexican favorites found at real taquerias.

This machaca recipe has lots of different flavors. There really isn't any one that stands out; they all blend really well together and it's super simple to make. You just need to plan a little ahead, because the meat needs to rest overnight with a rub on it before you can start the braising.

Once you've made your beef machaca, you're ready to fill the burritos and tacos for your Cinco de Mayo party. But what might be even better is making up a plate of this beef machaca with a fried egg on top for your Cinco de Mayo hangover cure the next morning.


*Note: To make the pasilla chili powder, I removed the stems and seeds from 3 dried pasilla chile peppers and ground them up in a spice grinder. You could use another type of chili powder if you would like something hotter.


  • 3 Tablespoons ground coffee (not instant)
  • 4 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons pasilla chili powder*
  • 4 1/2 Pounds beef brisket
  • 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 dried pasilla chile peppers, stemmed, seeded, and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 Cup lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Cups tomato juice
  • 1 Cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup brewed coffee
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder


In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ground coffee, 3 tablespoons of the salt, and chili powder. Pat ½ of the mixture onto one side of the brisket. Lay the brisket (coated side down) in a 9-by-13-inch pan and pat the remainder of the mixture onto the other side of the brisket. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cut the brisket in ½ or thirds (whatever will fit into your largest sauté pan). Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the sauté pan. Once it is hot and shimmering, add 1 piece of the brisket and sear it for 3-4 minutes per side.

Continue doing this for each piece of the brisket, using 1 tablespoon of olive oil for each piece. Add the remaining ingredients to a large Dutch oven and stir to combine. Add the pieces of brisket into the mixture so that they are at least half submerged.

Cover and cook for 3 ½-4 hours (the cooking time is up to you). Remove from the oven. Discard the bay leaves and as many of the onions as possible. With the lid off, place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

With a large spoon, break up the meat into small pieces. Continue to cook and break up the meat into smaller and smaller pieces. Keep cooking until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Remove from the heat and serve up in tacos, burritos, or by itself.