Paleo Vaca Frita Recipe

I first experienced Vaca Frita in Miami at 2am. I’d been out dancing all night with this gorgeous latina girl who’s now my wife. We were starving, so we found a Cuban restaurant that was opened at the time. I tried Vaca Frita on a suggestion from a friend, and I’ve spent the last five years trying to perfect my own version of the dish.

Vaca Frita literally translates from Spanish to mean “fried cow”. It’s a completely unappetizing name for an amazing dish. It’s a mixture of sweet and savory. Plus it’s naturally paleo! It takes a bit of planning and preparation to make it well, but it’s worth it. Every single person who’s tried this dish has been begging for more of it.

Paleo Vaca Frita Ingredients

  • 2 Lbs flank steak (or other roast-type cut of meat)
  • 5 Limes (make sure they are a little soft and have a glossy sheen on them)
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Medium onion
  • Olive oil or coconut oil
  • Salt

Making Paleo Vaca Frita

As I said, it takes a bit of forethought to make this dish, but it’s worth it. The day before you plan to make the vaca frita, put the meat in a slow cooker on high for five hours. Add half a cup of water at the bottom while it cooks. This will pre-cook your meat and allow you to shred it.

Once it’s shredable, shred the meat with a  fork and put it in a plastic bowl with the chopped raw garlic and the juice of four limes (use this to make juicing limes easy). Let that marinate overnight. Be sure to cover the bowl or put the meat/marinade in a plastic bag so it doesn’t stink up your refrigerator like garlic.

Vaca Frita Marinade

When you’re ready to cook it, heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil to the pan. While it’s heating, slice your onion then drop it into the pan. Cook the onions until they’re translucent, then add the shredded meat. Season it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt.

Cook it for twenty minutes, stirring it frequently. You want to crisp the meat a bit to give it that fried flavor. Add the juice of another lime while you’re cooking to make it extra delicious.

Serve it hot along with some fried plantains.