Vaca Frita – LADL Flowchart Recipe

Origin: Cuba

About: This is the best shredded beef I have ever tasted and is often called Cuban Shredded Beef. Vaca Frita is beef simmered until its shreds easily, then marinated in lime juice and olive oil. Special attention is given to make sure the beef is crisp, not steamed. What makes this dish trully amazing is the lingering citrus aftertaste leaving you craving for more.

However, if you’re tempted to order this from a restaurant in Cuba or southern Florida, because Vaca Frita literally means “fired cow” they might serve you a whole fried flank steak. Also, take note that the orange juice is a modern addition to this dish, but I believe it adds a memorable flavor.

If you’re looking for an appetizer to go with this dish, I suggest tostones which are green plantains fried in canola oil and served with mojo sauce. A possible dessert would be Cuban flan.

Served with:

  • Lime wedges
  • Cuba Libre, a.k.a Coke and Rum
  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Mojo sauce


  • Green bell pepper, 2 cups
  • Oregano, 1 tsp
  • Tomato sauce, but this makes it into another dish called ropa vieja.


  • Chuck Roast — Skirt steak or flank steak
  • Dry Sherry — Red wine
  • Orange juice — Oranges