Cured beef

Cured beef

Beef tapa

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

A true Filipino can eat meat at any time of the day and relishes it equally for breakfast and dinner. Beef tapa is the Filipino take on jerky, but much more moist — slabs of marinated meat are semi-dried, then pan-fried until crisp and caramelised on the edges. Skirt steak is the best match for flavour and texture. Just pound to flatten it out — a light hand ensures a juicy finish. For breakfast favourite tapsilog, top off the tapa with sinangag and fried egg.


Quantity Ingredient
800g beef skirt steak, trimmed
125ml soy sauce
80ml rice wine vinegar
75g soft brown sugar
1 garlic bulb, cloves smashed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Garlic fried rice, to serve
spring onion slices and fried eggs, (optional), to serve


  1. Freeze the beef flat until partially frozen (about 2 hours) — this will make it easier to slice thinly. Remove from the freezer and place on a clean work surface. Using a large sharp knife, cut horizontally into 4 mm slices; don’t worry if they are not completely even. Place the beef between sheets of plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound so that they are even (they don’t need to be thinned). Cut each slice into 2–3 strips following the grain, then in half widthwise.
  2. Place the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and garlic in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the beef and turn well to coat, then transfer the mixture to a large zip-lock bag. Give the mixture a good shake and rub with your hands, then place the bag flat on a plate to ensure the beef marinates evenly. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. To dry the beef, hold the oven door ajar with a wooden spoon and preheat to 100ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place a wire rack on top. Remove the beef from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and place directly on the rack — you want to retain as much flavour as possible so don’t overly drain beef, the pan will catch the drips. Place in the oven and cook the beef for 1–11⁄2 hours, turning the beef every 30 minutes until the beef is dry but still slightly moist in the centre.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook half of the beef tapa for 1–2 minutes on each side, or until slightly crisp and caramelised. Repeat with the remaining oil and tapa. Serve with sinangag, spring onion and fried eggs, if using.
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