Beef Mechado

Beef Mechado is a Filipino-style beef stew made with spiked beef pieces simmered in tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots. It is a delicious and filling dish that goes well with steamed rice.

The presence of marbling usually determines the quality of beef. The more marbling it contains, the better the cut. Visible as white dots embedded in the muscle fibers, intramuscular fat helps the meat retain its juiciness and tenderness.

Beef Mechado

As we all know from our adobos and crispy patas, the fattier parts are the tastiest. In beef mechado, this culinary fact is applied through the ingenious technique of inserting “wicks” of pork fat called lardons or lardoons into cheaper, leaner cuts of beef.

As the fried pieces of beef cook, the threaded strips of fat melt and add flavor and tenderness.

What does Mechado mean?

Mechado comes from the Spanish root Mecha, meaning “wick”. Influenced by Spanish colonization, this Philippine stew traditionally uses the cooking practice of staining cheap cuts of meat with strips of pork loin.
However, it was modified to suit local tastes. Calamansi juice and soy sauce and aromatics such as garlic, onion and bay leaf are key ingredients in the braising liquid for depth of flavour. Bits of carrots, potatoes, and peppers round out the dish with added color and texture.
The term mitsado has evolved over the years to include other cuts of meat such as pork, chicken, beef ribs, and fish stewed in tomatoes. These today’s versions have mostly dispensed with the spiking process.

The difference between Mechado, Afritada and Calderata

Onions, garlic and tomatoes are the holy trinity of Filipino cooking and provide the basis of many Filipino dishes such as afritada, kaldereta and mitsado. But while these classic dishes are similar in their cooking process and use of potatoes, carrots and peppers, the addition of a few key ingredients gives them their distinctive flavor.

  • Afritada – chicken, pork or beef stewed in fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce; other versions contain pineapple for a sweeter taste
  • Caldereta – made from beef or goat meat with added olives, liver spread and chili peppers for a richer taste and a hint of heat; other regional versions also use coconut milk for a touch of creaminess
  • Menudo – traditionally made from sliced ​​pork along with liver, garbanzo beans, raisins. and sometimes hot dogs or Vienna sausages
  • Moss braised in tomato sauce, calamansi juice and soy sauce for a tangy and spicy flavor

Notes on ingredients

  • Beef – Tenderloin, top or bottom round or brisket are great and inexpensive cuts to use
  • Pork Loin Lard – Skip if you want to reduce fat and calories
  • Potatoes and carrots – these root/tuber crops add delicious flavor to a dish
  • Calamansi or lemon juice – adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat; about 1/4 cup
  • Soy sauce – adds an umami taste
  • Tomato sauce – if you like, substitute chopped fresh tomatoes for a fresher taste
  • Onion, garlic and bay leaf – aromatics add depth of flavor
  • Peppers – use a combination of green and red for a more festive color

Cooking tips

  • Cut the beef pieces into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. Two to three inches is a good size to fit in a wick of pork fat.
  • Use a small knife to make a small incision in the meat and insert the lard. For larger cuts of beef, cool the lard until it solidifies and use a skewer to poke easily into the meat.
  • While you can marinate the beef in citrus juice and soy sauce if you like, I find this extra step unnecessary because the beef will cook in the braising liquid long enough to absorb all the flavors.
  • To prevent the potatoes and carrots from falling apart, first fry them in a pan until they are lightly browned.
  • Fry the beef in hot oil to develop flavor. For proper browning, do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches as needed.
  • Low and slow is the key to the best tasting stew. Tougher cuts of meat need to be cooked for a long time to break down the connective tissues to fork-tenderness. Don’t rush the cooking process so you don’t end up with a tough and chewy texture.

Try this mechadong baka recipe. For something so hearty and flavorful, this Filipino-style beef stew is surprisingly easy to make without a lot of prep. So easy; the hardest part is waiting to dig in

Pour this rich, thick tomato sauce over hot steamed rice or dip it into warm, crusty rolls. Either way, it’s a satisfying meal the whole family will love!

Storage of leftovers

  • Transfer leftovers to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 days.
  • Heat in a saucepan over medium heat to 165 F or in the microwave in 2- to 3-minute intervals until heated through.

Beef Mechado Preparation

Mechadong Baka is a Filipino-style beef stew made with boiled beef chunks, potatoes and carrots. This beef mechado is a hearty and flavorful dish, simmered in citrus juice, soy sauce, and tomato sauce.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 minutes
By Lalaine Manalo
Course: Main appetizer


  • 2 pounds chuck roast or top round, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 pound lard cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon or calamansi juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Cut a thin slit in the center of each beef cube and gently insert a strip of pork lard. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add potatoes and carrots and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.
3. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of oil from the pot. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened.
4. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
5. Add lemon or calamansi juice and soy sauce and continue cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add tomato sauce, water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil runoff dirt that may float to the surface.
7. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender. If it dries out before the beef is tender, add additional water 1/2 cup at a time as needed.
8. Add the potatoes and carrots and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has reduced.
9. Add the peppers and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until soft.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


For larger cuts of beef, cool the lard until it solidifies and use a skewer to poke easily into the meat.

Nutritional information

Calories: 916 kcal, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Protein: 50 g, Fat: 69 g, Saturated fatty acids: 24 g, Cholesterol: 183 mg, Sodium: 1482 mg, Potassium: 1671 mg, Fiber: 6 g, V703, Sugar : 7 g

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