Beef Mechado


I have a major crush on my Instant Pot,  so much so that I’ve been secretly cheating on my other crush the Crock Pot.  The Crock Pot is OK.  It’s a little slow, makes you wait for it all day and it even forces you to brown your food in another pot.  It’s no wonder the Instant Pot and I hit it off, well, instantly.  You can brown in the sauté setting, take the toughest cut of meat and once it gets pressurized, you’re 35 minutes away from dinner.

The Instant Pot is the perfect vehicle for stewing and braising so I experimented with beef mechado, a rich and flavorful tomato based Filipino beef stew. The obsession with beef mechado started with my Mom who buys and freezes mechado by the pint from a nearby Filipino restaurant.  At 6$ a pint, I thought I’d try to recreate this at home.  Ever the resourceful Pinay mom, she even called the restaurant to find out the cut of beef they use and how they get the meat so tender.  She learned that they pressure cooked the beef and instead of cutting the beef into chunks, beef stew style, they cut it in slices–so revolutionary!  Kudos to Mom who’s been cracking life’s secrets all this time without ever having to Google.


  • 4-5 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 c calamansi or lemon juice
  • 3/4 c Silver Swan soy sauce*
  • 1 t sugar
  • pepper, to taste
  • 15-oz can tomato sauce


Marinate beef in lemon juice, sugar and soy sauce mixture at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Drain the beef and set aside the marinade, don’t throw away as you’ll be using this as the braising liquid.  Oil the bottom of your Instant Pot and brown the beef  in batches.  Don’t worry about cooking it all the way through as you’ll be pressure cooking it to tender goodness.  To your browned beef, add the tomato sauce and the marinade you set aside.  Set your Instant Pot to Meat/Stew and pressure level to high pressure for 30 minutes.


  • I added red bell pepper after I finished cooking the beef and pressure cooked it another 10 minutes.  I thought that was too long as the beef totally fell apart.  Some slices turned into shredded beef which I’m not crazy about.  I prefer tender but still in tact beef slices so next time, I’d cut it down to 25 minutes for pressure cooking the beef and then an additional 10 minutes for bell pepper.  Same rule applies if you wish to add potatoes.
  • I cooked down the sauce for an even more concentrated tomatoey flavor by putting the Instant Pot on the sauté setting, high.  That may have also contributed to the beef falling apart.
  • You can substitute toyomansi, which is a Filipino say sauce mixed with calamansi juice, for soy sauce like I did the second time I made this.  It was good, but it came out a little too tangy for me.  Adding a little more  sugar helps cut the tanginess.
  • When choosing your chuck roast, pick one that’s a little more fatty with a lot of marbling throughout.  That fat means juicy, moist flavor.