Carne Desmechada o Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)

by Erica Dinho on May 1, 2009

This post is also available in Spanish

Ropa Vieja Recipe

Cooking flank Steak this way is ideal when you want to prepare a dish ahead of time. Carne Desmechada or Ropa Vieja is another popular recipe in Colombia and Latin America. This classic beef dish is very easy, and is great over rice, patacones and arepas. It can also be used as a filling for tacos or empanadas.

Cane Desmechada or Ropa vieja

Ropa Vieja Recipe

This traditional dish is made with flank steak, onions, garlic, cumin, tomato and tomato paste.

Serve it with pataconeswhite rice or arepa. Buen provecho

Patacones con Carne Desmechada

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(4 Servings)

  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cups hogao
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

Receta de Carne Desmechada



  1. In a pot, place the flank steak, water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
  2. Measure 1 cup of the liquid used to cook the meat. Set aside.
  3. Remove the beef from the pot, let it cool and shred with a fork or your hands.
  4. In a saucepan, place the shredded beef, hogao, tomato paste and 1 cup of beef liquid. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve hot over white rice or arepa.
  6. How to make Ropa Vieja

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 5 Star Foodie May 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Shredded flank steak sounds excellent – this is a meal that everyone in a family would enjoy!


2 ericriveracooks May 1, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Everytime I come to your blog it takes me back to being a little kid. I love it.



3 Sapuche May 1, 2009 at 9:24 PM

This looks great, especially with the flavorful red juices at the bottom of the pot. It reminds me of the pulled pork here in Hawaii, and I love how simple it is to make!


4 Allison Lemons May 2, 2009 at 1:51 AM

I’m so happy I found your blog – and my Colombian husband will be too once I start trying out your recipes! He’ll be excited about this one especially – I don’t cook red meat that often but when I do he always requests flank steak. Thanks for the recipe – I can’t wait for future posts!


5 stephanie January 11, 2010 at 12:32 PM

my husband can’t wait for me to cook this dish for him tonight! thanks for the great recipe!


6 recipes ca January 31, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Hi, I applaud your blog for informing people, very interesting article, keep up it coming :)


7 Kimberly March 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I’m not big on beef, but the recipe looked so good and easy, I decided to go ahead with it. It was delicious! Thank you! Excellent with white rice AND arepa (I was really hungry)!


8 Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 9:24 PM

I made this carne desmechada or ropa vieja and it was fantastic. I served over white rice.


9 Bajar Barriga June 13, 2010 at 5:33 AM

No sé bien cómo llegué a tu blog y todo el contenido me pareció genial. Ya llevo un rato navegando por aquí. Tu dirección ya está en mi Google Reader. Si estás aburrido, comenta en mi sitio. Abrazo!


10 Erycka July 28, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Hola Erica,

me encanta tu blog. Cada vez que vengo aca se antojo hacer todo a la vez. Quería pedir un favor, es posible poner el nombre de la carne en español. Ahorita estoy en Bogota , y bueno no se como traducir el nombre de las carnes.

Keep up the good work! Think my next meal will be las lentejas. Por más que me gusta la arepa con queso, el calentao y el pan de bono…necesito variar o si no llego a casa (Nueva York) hecha una ballena.



11 Paula June 1, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Hola!! Me pregunto si en lugar de sobrebarriga se puede usar carne de falda o solomo abierto…si es asi, cual es el nombre de esos cortes en inglespara pedirlos en la carniceria?


12 Anna March 6, 2012 at 9:49 PM

I just made this tonight, and my family loved it!!! thanks so much for sharing your recipes i am making a list to make more! My hubby is colombian and im italian, but i love colombian food!! Some of his family have taught me some stuff but i wanna try new things! i luv the flavors! You dont know how much i appreciate you sharing this, he loved dinner tonight! thanks again! tomorrow i will try the beans and beef stew. I love this website!!


13 Laura March 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Question, can you use Sofrito instead of making Hogao? What are other alternatives to the Hogao?


14 Erica March 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Laura, You can use sofrito.


15 Laura April 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Hi Erica, Another question, can the meat be cooked in a slow cooker instead of a regular pot? If so, how long do you think the meat should cook for? Love all of your recipes!!


16 Erica April 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Laura- Using the slow cooker…..Cook it for about 4 to 5 hours.


17 Rocio April 2, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Thank you so much for your recipes. They take me back to my childhood, and now I can make them for my own family. I made the carne desmechada last night and it was a big hit. I can’t wait to keep trying more. Im grateful for your website. And I just love how you add the pictures of each dish. AMAZING!!!


18 Christina January 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Hi- I wanted to know if I should cut the steak prior to boiling it?

Thank you!


19 Erica January 4, 2013 at 8:36 PM



20 Mayito Castillo November 28, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Uuummm!!! Que delicia!! La conbinacion perfecta, patacon con carne mechada.


21 Maria Khan April 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Estoy encantada con las recetas y toda la familia disfruta muchísimo cuando preparo comida Colombiana. llevo mucho tiempo viviendo aqui y había perdido un poco el sabor real de nuestra comida. Cada semana ensayo una nueva receta.


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