As fun to say as it is to eat!

venison machacaMachaca, or machacado, is one of those Mexican dishes that’s hard to find unless you’re in, or somewhat next to, Mexico. Machacado is a dried shredded beef, similar to a shredded jerky. It’s one of those things that’s steeped in a tradition of necessity. Back in the day, people (in this case, ranchers in northern Mexico) preserved meat by drying it in the sun. It’s also got special seasoning. The seasoning is so special, in fact, that Machaca is still made around Mexico and some parts of the US today.

However, drying meat in the sun? We don’t really do that anymore. One day I’m sure I will jerky up some shredded venison for a more authentic machaca, but today I wanted to make some freezer meals for my grandparents. I’m not sure what they would make of a bag of frozen bits of jerky. Right, Grandma? It’s extra great because they can reheat it and eat it over rice (like a stew) or in a tortilla (tacos)!

venison machaca

Since I specifically made this as a freezer meal, I did a double recipe. It’s a crockpot recipe, so adding an extra pound or two of steak doesn’t make much of a difference in cooking or prep time. If you’re looking for something a little closer to the more traditional, dried machacado, drain the meat a little bit and fry it in a pan until it gets crispy. This is my preferred way of eating it. It’s delicious in eggs as well.

When you’re making this, it’s important to pay attention to heat. Since my grandparents are not spicy food aficionados, I made mine mild. The recipe reflects that. If you like heat, use 2 jalapenos or serranos and leave the seeds in. I also used a smoked sweet paprika, not a smoked hot paprika. If you really like spice, you could even throw in a pinch of cayenne.



  • 3.5-4lb venison round steak or rump roast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • juice of one lime (separated)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 Large onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1 jalapeno (sliced, seeds removed if desired)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried ancho chile pods (stems and seeds removed)
  • pinch cinnamon


Step 1
Mix the dry spices, olive oil and the juice of half your lime into a paste and rub on the steaks. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
Step 2
Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Slice the steaks so they are small enough to sear in the pan. Sear each steak piece and add to the crockpot, deglazing with a splash of the red wine vinegar in between takes if necessary. Put the deglazing liquid into the crockpot with the seared steaks.
Step 3
Top with the onions, garlic, jalapeno, wine, the remaining red wine vinegar, lime juice, bouillon, bay leaves, water, tomatoes and chile pods. Cook on high until the meat is tender and falling apart, about 4-5 hours.
Step 4
Pull the meat out and separate/shred with a fork, kind of like you would with pulled pork. Put it back in the crockpot with the cooking liquid for about another hour.
Step 5
Serve warm over rice or in a tortilla. You can also drain some of the liquid of and pan fry until crispy to serve in a tortilla or in scrambled eggs.

Non-game substitution: Use beef round steak or a chuck roast. Anything you would stew that then shreds easily with a fork.


Posted in Venison
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4 Comments on "Mucho Machaca!"

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Cecelia Vossmeyer

Wow, Grandma was mentioned in your blog. I am famous! This recipe sounds very tasty.

Denise Cox

Would love to print out this recipe, but the print option gets me a blank page on this and other recipes. Is it me? Or is there a snag? I love this blog!