Filipino Beef Mechado Recipe

One of the fundamental cooking techniques in Filipino cuisine is to stew. You have your afritada, estofado, and here we have mechado. Stewing the meat makes it extremely tender, flaking apart as your press down on it with a fork.

Now, it’s easy to confuse mechado with the likes of afritada, caldereta, pochero, and menudo. Let’s break it down for everyone:

Afritada – derived from the Spanish word “fritada”, meaning “to fry”. This refers to pan-frying the meat before adding it to the tomato sauce. Visually, the sauce is not as thick as the other dishes.

Menudo – menudo means “small” in Spanish, referring to the cuts of meat in the dish. It’s usually made with pork and liver (either pork or beef liver). Potatoes, carrots, raisins, and bell peppers usually accompany the dish. Its sauce is usually sweeter because of the raisins in the sauce.

Caldereta – usually made with beef or goat, and flavored with liver spread, carrots, potato, often with cheese, and sometimes with chili to kick the heat up a notch.

Mechado – derived from the Spanish word “mechar”, meaning “to lard”. Traditional mechado is infused with pork fat in the center to give the dish more flavor. Another big difference for this tomato-based stew are the ingredients for the sauce: soy sauce and vinegar or citrus to add acidity to the sauce.


This mechado recipe uses short ribs and beef chuck, which will become extremely soft and fall-of-the-bone once you stew the dish. Serve it with steaming white rice and you’re golden.

How to make Mechado

  • 400g Short ribs
  • 400g of Beef Chuck
  • 4 tbsp Lard
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 potato, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 cups of water
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 bell peppers, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Fish sauce and pepper to taste
  1. Cut beef into 3-inch chunks. In a bowl, season with soy sauce, lemon juice, and pepper. Marinade for 2 hours.
  2. In a dutch oven, heat up lard and sear beef on both sides. Remove beef and toss in potatoes and carrots. Once browned, remove from the pan. Add in garlic and onions and saute for 3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add in canned tomatoes in the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes and add beef broth. Continue to simmer and add bay leaves, meat, soy marinade, and enough water to submerge the meat. Simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Add in potatoes and carrots during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Optional: Skim off oil and fat at the surface.
  5. Add in the peas and bell peppers. Taste and adjust with fish sauce and black pepper.
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