Authentic Cuban Shredded Beef, "Ropa Vieja" Cubana

Juliann Esquivel


When I first tasted this dish I was swept off my feet. It was the most delicious shredded beef recipe I had ever tasted. I quickly learned how to make it from my dear mother-in-law Yoli, short for Yolanda. Over the years I have tweaked it to my families liking. I guarantee You will love this shredded beef recipe. The name is"Ropa Vieja", meaning "Old Clothes" Served with Cuban white rice or my white lime rice and some fried plantains get yourself ready for a real treat. Enjoy with my recipes for the Cuban white rice or lime rice which have already been posted. Enjoy


★★★★★ 12 votes

2 Hr
35 Min
Stove Top


  • 2 lb
    beef brisket
  • 1 1/2 large
    sweet vidalia or sweet onion diced small
  • 1 1/2 large
    sweet red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small
    can pimentos morrones, fire roasted peeled pimentos diced
  • 20 small
    pitted pimento stuffed green olives drained of the brine
  • 8 clove
    fresh garlic smashed or put through a garlic press
  • 1/4 c
    red burgundy or merlot wine, or a good white table wine if red is not available
  • 1/4 c
    diced fresh curly parsley, try not to add the stems
  • 2 large
    bay leaves
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp
    apple vinegar
  • 1 small
    can tomato sauce, i use hunts or delmonte, pure tomato sauce
  • 1 small
    packet sazon goya seasoning with culantro and achiote
  • 3 sprig(s)
    fresh cilantro diced
  • 1/4 c
    good virgin olive oil and an extra 2 tablespoons oil for the end
  • 1 large
    lime juiced
  • 1/4 c
    tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp
    worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
    black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp
    goya adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 c
    beef brisket broth
  • 1/4 tsp
    cayanne pepper, optional

How to Make Authentic Cuban Shredded Beef, "Ropa Vieja" Cubana


  1. Put brisket in a large pot of cold water add half onion, half green pepper, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves garlic smashed or crushed and 1 tsp salt cover and cook for about four hours over medium flame until brisket is fork tender and is falling apart. If you have a pressure cooker You can do the same as above; cover and pressurize for one hour. When finished cooking; release steam carefully; remove meat and allow to cool then with two forks beging ripping pieces of meat into shredds with the forks pulling each apart until all is shredded completely. Set aside
  2. Next in a large deep skillet or saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the rest of the diced onion, green pepper, remaing garlic, (be sure garlic is smashed or put through a garlic press) saute these veggies until onion is translucent; next add the parsley, cilantro, diced roasted pimento, should only use one pimento, continue to saute until parsley and cilantro are limp. Next add the olives and the wine to the sauteed veggies, continue to saute for about a minute; now add the tomato sauce; ketchup, worcestershire sauce; vinegar; lime juice; bay leaf, and all the dry seasonings. oregano, cumin powder,sazon goya packet,garlic powder,goya adobe seasoning,remaining tsp salt, black pepper,and stir very well. Keep cooking for about 2 minutes until all the seasonings are well mixed into the sauce. Now add the 1/2 cup beef broth. Stir very well and let simmer for about one more minute. Taste a little of the sauce to see if it has enough salt and seasonings you may want to add a little more salt or pepper or a little bit more of ketchup and a kiss of cayanne pepper if you like. If you like a little kick. It's up to your taste liking.
  3. Now add the meat to the sauce and mix very very well ensuring that the meat is well mixed with this sauce. Saute the meat with the sauce for about three minutes; over a medium low flame so the sauce marries with the meat. Cover with a tight lid lower the flame to very low and leave like this for three minutes. After three minutes have passed uncover mix real good again, and serve on top of fluffy white Cuban rice or my white lime rice. Serve with the fried plantains and a salad. This shredded beef is delicious. Enjoy
  4. I like to eat the left over shredded beef on toasty Cuban bread the next day or you can serve on toasted French or Italian bread either way it is wonderful. Buen Appetito
    Save the remaining beef broth for making soup the next day or freeze for another dish.

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About Authentic Cuban Shredded Beef, "Ropa Vieja" Cubana

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Cuban
Other Tag: Heirloom

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