Homemade Machaca

Machacar is a verb in Spanish that means to grind or mash by pounding. Traditionally machaca is meat that has been sundried, cooked and pounded into small pieces (hence, the name.)  This was originally a method to preserve meat, developed in the Northern Mexican states of Sonora and Nuevo Leon; hunters often prepared venison and other game meats, but nowadays, with the creation of wild life sanctuaries, beef is the most common choice. The dried pounded meat is also sold packaged, for a long shelf life. I saw some beef machaca from Sonora in a small grocery store in Mexico City:

001 Mexico City machaca from Sonora

However, because it is not vacuum packed, this product is not allowed across the border into the US or Canada. Some Southern states in the US have embraced this dish, and packaged machaca is available at Hispanic stores, but I have never seen it in Canada.  To prepare it at home when dried machaca is not available, fresh meat may be cooked first, shredded, and then allowed to partially dry by frying in a pan, while, of course, being pounded.

Fresh Beef MachacaMachaca fresca de res

Printable recipe: Fresh Beef Machaca


1 lb (454 g) stewing beef chunks, or skirt cut up into pieces
½ onion, peeled and cut into chunks
Water, to cook meat
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Place all ingredients except the oil in a large pot, bring to boil then lower heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool down. Strain through a colander; reserve broth for another recipe. Remove and discard onion. Shred meat with two forks; reserve.

In a large frying pan, warm up oil over medium heat. Add shredded beef and cook, stirring and pounding with a wooden spoon (photo below, left). Some moisture evaporates with the heat, in lieu of sun-drying, and the meat gets crispier, while the pounding breaks it up into even smaller pieces (photo below, centre); continue cooking and pounding until very crispy and golden brown (photo below, right):

Now the fresh machaca is ready to eat:

005 fried machaca ready to use

Dried machaca would have to be regenerated by hydrating and frying, but the end result would have more than a vague resemblance to this crispy meat; fried machaca may be used by itself as a taco filling, or served next to fried eggs, beans or vegetables.  It is also often prepared Mexican Style, as described in my previous post (photo below, left), or scrambled with eggs for the traditional “Machaca con huevo” (photo below, right):

Printable recipe: Mexican Style Machaca and Machaca with Eggs

Mexican Style Machaca – Machaca a la Mexicana


2 cups crispy machaca (fresh as above, or prepared from package)
1 large tomato; washed, stem end removed, and chopped
½ onion; peeled and finely chopped
4 serrano peppers, or to taste; stem removed and sliced finely
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, to taste

Warm up oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add onions and sauté until translucent. Add peppers and cook for another two minutes (photo below, left). Add machaca (photo below, right):

Continue cooking and stirring for another minute, then add tomatoes and season with salt, to taste:

007 add tomatoes let cook Machaca a la mexicana

Allow the tomatoes to stew for a couple of minutes, so all the flavours come together.  Serve warm with tortillas, refried beans or chilaquiles, or continue recipe below, with eggs:

Mexican Style Machaca with Eggs-

Machaca a la mexicana con huevo


1 batch Mexican Style Machaca (see above)
4 eggs

Lightly beat eggs and pour into the pan (photo below, left); scramble all together, scraping bottom (photo below, right):

Continue cooking until set.  Serve with a side of refried beans and either corn tortillas or, as below and more traditionally in the Mexican states of Sonora and Nuevo Leon, with wheat tortillas:

010 Machaca con huevo refried beans and wheat flour tortillas.jpg

Thank you so much to Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats and Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn for featuring my Mexican Style Pizza on their Thursday Favourite Things #390, which they graciously co-host with Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance, Pam @ An Artful Mom and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.

I am also sharing my recipes at Full Plate Thursday #433 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #277 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday; co-hosting this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

And I am bringing my recipes to What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up # 202 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.

I am sharing my post at Tummy Tuesday with Mary @ Cactus Catz.

An apology to Fandango @ This That and The Other for not being able to incorporate his “Fandango’s One Word Challenge” prompt into my text this time; I had no choice but to blame it on the nature of my post 😉

28 thoughts on “Homemade Machaca

    1. Machaca is one of those hidden regional treasures, but has become popular all around Mexico over the years. I am glad you liked the post, Kari!


  1. HI, Irene! I am glad to see you again at this week’s Fiesta Friday!
    This is the first time I am introduced to Machaca. I am not sure if I’ll love the dried and packaged ones, but I am absolutely sure that I love your version. And with eggs, oh yes!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like that you give historical/cultural background to so many of your dishes, and this one is no exception. I’m seriously wanting to go out and try it Right Now! TBH, I’d never heard of Machaca until today – hey, something new to try! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday!!!


  3. Looks awesome! With your great photos and recipes, you should do a cookbook. It would be an awesome one with all the background you give on the herbs and dishes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A couple of other friends have also mentioned the book idea, one is a published author and is helping me a lot, so I am in the process of making time to work on this project. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Mary!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s