Steak Picado is on constant rotation in our house! It's a spicy, savory and tender Mexican steak dish that's slow cooked for 2 hours until it falls apart. It's perfect piled onto tacos or served on a platter with rice and beans!
Steak Picado is one of those recipes that make you go DAMN!
After 2 hours of braising, the meat is so incredibly tender that it's practically falling apart!
We like to serve it with warm flour tortillas and some pickled red onions with a sprinkle of cilantro!
No joke, the last time I made this recipe my husband and I ate the entire two pounds of steak in one sitting. We couldn't get enough!
It legit tastes like it's from a restaurant.
As you may know, I am as white as they come so I'm thankful for them sharing their cultural heritage with us online!
If you'd like an actual authentic recipe, be sure to check them out. Because needless to say, mine is adapted.
Now let's get to it!
Ingredient notes & substitutions
(scroll to the bottom for the full recipe & printable recipe card)
- oil - You can use any neutral oil you like or even a mild olive oil!
- Chopped Steak - Carne Picado translates to minced meat (beef specifically!) so you'll want to use some sort of chopped beef steak. In this recipe, I used bottom round roast and highly recommend it!
- Kosher Salt - I'm always a huge proponent of kosher salt because it's the best for cooking!
- Garlic Powder - We'll also be using fresh garlic but the powder works perfectly for the first round of steak seasoning.
- Mexican Oregano - If you don't have real Mexican oregano, you could substitute any jarred dried oregano.
- Cumin - Cumin is what really gives it the taco flavor so you'll def want to have this on hand!
- White Onion - I've also used red onion and sweet onion and they both work perfectly!
- Garlic - Although it's not 100% necessary, I highly recommend throwing some fresh garlic into the pot!
- Cans of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles - I got mine at Aldi but you could use Rotel or 4-5 large chopped beef steak tomatoes with a few green chilis chopped up.
- Pickled Jalapeños - It's totally not authentic but I prefer pickled jalapenos in this recipe because 1) I always have them on hand and 2) the vinegar adds the perfect tang and depth.
- Cilantro - Don't skimp on the fresh cilantro! If you're using dried, put it in at the beginning so it can cook into the meat!
- Flour Taco Shells - This is another ingredient that you could swap. Try corn tortillas, tostados or even rice and beans!
- Pickled Red Onions - I just shared this pink pickled onions last week and they're a must!
How to make steak picado
Making steak picado is super easy! It's about 10 minutes of work and then it simmers for almost two hours until it's perfectly tender and falling apart.
To begin, heat up a large, heavy bottomed pan (that has a lid -- I love and use this one daily) over medium high heat.
Once the pan is super hot, carefully add the oil and the chopped steak. Spread out the meat so it’s spaced equally apart in the pan.
Now top the steak with salt, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin.
Once the steak begins to get some color on the bottom pieces, stir the spices into the meat and turn the heat to medium.
Now add the sliced onion and the fresh garlic and cook it down for 3-5 minutes more.
Then add the cans of tomatoes, the pickled jalapenos and enough water to slightly cover the meat .
**With my size pan (a 3.5 quart braiser), I only needed half a cup but you might need a different amount if you're using a smaller pan. You just want to make sure there’s enough liquid to braise the meat and make it tender while it's cooking for the next hour and a half.**
Now stir everything up then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat to low so the meat is lightly simmering.
Cook for 1.5 hours, stirring every 15-20 or so. Be sure to add more water if it looks like it's drying out.
After an hour and a half, take off the lid and let the sauce reduce, stirring often.
At this point, the meat should be tender and falling apart!
Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a handful of fresh chopped cilantro.
Pile into warm flour tortillas and top with pink pickled onions!
Depending on the region where this recipe originated, there are quite a few different variations of Steak Picado!
Some recipes call for fresh tomatoes, green bell peppers, and jalapeños.
Others call for poblano peppers and canned tomatoes and tender potatoes.
The version of this recipe that I'm sharing is inspired by my friend Patricia who was born in Mexico!
What to pair it with
For a beverage, try Epcot's Famous Avocado Margarita!
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Steak Picado Recipe
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 lbs bottom round roast chopped into 1” pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 large onion finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chili
- 1 tbsp pickled jalapenos chopped
- ½ cup water (or more if you're using a large pan)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- Heat up a large, heavy bottomed pan (that has a lid) over medium high heat and add oil once it’s super hot.
- Add the chopped steak and spread it so it’s spaced equally apart in the pan.
- Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin.
- Once the steak begins to get some color, stir the spices into the meat and turn the heat to medium.
- Add the onion and the garlic and cook it down for 3-5 minutes.
- Then add the cans of tomatoes, the pickled jalapenos and enough water to slightly cover the meat (you might not need a lot if you’re using a smaller pan - you just want to make sure there’s enough liquid to braise the meat and make it tender)
- Stir everything up then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat to low so it is simmering.
- Cook for 1.5 hours, stirring every 15-20 or so, and adding more water if needed.
- Then take the lid off, and let the sauce reduce for 30 more minutes. The meat should be falling apart tender.
- Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a handful of fresh chopped cilantro.