Panamanian Style Ropa Vieja


Day 5 and another Central American Dish

Day 5 of 2018 World Cup saw Panama lose their opening game to Belgium. I am not bringing much luck to the countries when cooking their dishes – so far no wins and no goals. Today’s dish was Ropa Vieja from Panama.

Ropa Vieja translates to “old clothes” in English. It is a dish that consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables.

For this cook I used marinated skirt steak and slow-cooked it on the Weber Smokey Mountain using Australian Heat Beats and some wood chunks from Smokewood Shack, setting the smoker off at 250°F and left the meat uncovered until it hit 175°F. Once it hit 175°F, I transferred the meat to a foil tray and added the mixture the meat marinated in. I then covered the foil tray with some foil, turned down the WSM temperature to 225°F and cooked until the meat reached 203°F.

In total the actual cook took around 7 hours.

I served the beef with Black Bean Rice and fried Plantains.

The Verdict

The whole family enjoyed this Ropa Vieja cook, with my son commenting that it was one of the best stews he has had. The meat was lovely and went really well with the Black Bean Rice and Fried Plantains. Next time I cook this I will make sure there is more sauce. The meat was moist but I think the dish would have been improved by having a bit more sauce spooned over the meat.


Panamanian Style Ropa Vieja

A Central American dish, packing flavour than got the BBQ treatment, to provide a beautiful melt-in-the-mouth beef dish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes


Ropa Vieja

  • 500 g Skirt Steak
  • 1 Onion (finley diced)
  • 3 Carrots (diced)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tbsp Tomoato Paste
  • 500 ml Beef Stock
  • 200 ml Red Wine

Black Bean Rice

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 Onion (finely diced)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
  • 225 g Basmati Rice
  • 400 ml Vegetable Stock
  • ¼ tsp Cayenna Pepper
  • 200 g Black Beans


  • In a large pan add the olive oil, onion, pepper, and carrots and gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the stock, red wine and oregano.
  • Bring the liquid to the boil then turn down the heat to a medium heat and cook the ingredients for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture totally cool down.
  • Once the liquid has totally cooled add the steak making sure it is totally covered. Cover the dish and place in the fridge overnight.
  • About 1 hour before you want to start your cook, remove the steak out of the fridge and brine to give it time to come up to room temperature. Light your smoker and aim to get the temperature to around 250°F. Place the steak on the WSM and cook uncovered until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 175°F.
  • Once the steak is at 175°F, transfer the steak to a foil tray and pour in the brine and then cover the foil tray with some foil. Cook until the temperature of the meat hits 203°C.
    Pulled Ropa Vieja
  • Remove the beef from the liquid and shred it. In the meantime pour the liquid into a saucepan and reduce / thicken the sauce up and then place the shredded beef into the sauce and mix well.
    Ropa Vieja Sauce
  • Now start cooking the rice by adding the oil to a pan with the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes, before adding the stock.
  • Cook for around 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the rice as it will absorb the liquid. If needed add additional stock. When the rice is almost done stir in the Black Beans and Cayenne Pepper.
  • Finally, slice the Plantains and pan fry. I have started to use Rapeseed oil which seems to work really well with the Plantains, adding a lovely yellow colour. Plate everything up and serve.
    Ropa Vieja
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Central American
Keyword: Beef, Plantains, Slow-cooked, Stew

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Your custom text © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.