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What is Suadero?

Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins

Suadero is a cut of beef that lies between the lower flank and sirloin primal sections of a cow that is often used in Mexican cooking. Suadero is sometimes referred to as rose meat because of its light pink color. Suadero meat is sometimes confused with hanger steak or brisket because each of these types of meat are all types of thinly cut beef.

What is Suadero Meat?

Suadero fajitas.
Suadero fajitas.

Used as a taco delicacy in and around Mexico City, this meat is considered lean and even a little chewy. Suadero meat isn’t a particularly tender cut of beef, so it tastes best when slow cooked. Due to its lack of fat, the best way to cook it is in low heat for a long time, with flavorful steam or smoke to keep the meat moist and as tender as possible.

What Cut of Beef is Suadero?

After being slow-cooked, suadero is often tossed onto a grill just before serving.
After being slow-cooked, suadero is often tossed onto a grill just before serving.

Many primal charts for cows do not show the suadero cut of meat. Instead, many merely include it as part of either the bottom of the sirloin, or round/rump sections, or at the tail end of the flank section, on the underside of the cow. At the nexus of these three sections lies the suadero, which is often differentiated by Mexican butchers and chefs, since the cut is so popular as a taco filling.

The Difference Between Suadero and Carnitas

Suadero meat is sometimes compared to carnitas because of a similar texture and similar preparation method. Suadero and carnitas both benefit from slower cooking times, which creates a crispy texture on the meat. Both types of meat, carnitas and suadero, are often enjoyed alongside corn tortillas, cilantro, onion, a squeeze of lime, or salsa verde.

But despite the numerous similarities, these two types of meat are not the same. Suadero is a type of meat that most usually comes from beef, while carnitas meat comes from pork. While you may rarely see varieties of suadero that are pork, carnitas are exclusively pork and never beef. These meats may be similar in some ways, including taste and preparation, but suadero is a particular cut of the animal.

What Type of Meat is Suadero?

The suadero is found on top of the cow's udders in a largely underworked section below the belly. The fact that this part of the cow is not particularly active makes a meat similar to hanger steak, but with a little more gristle and chewiness. Some cooks lump other similar cuts into this category when preparing tacos, such as brisket, skirt or flank cuts.

Where to Buy Suadero Meat

Because suadero meat is typically prepared and enjoyed as a part of Mexican cuisine, you may not be able to find the meat at most big-chain grocery stores. To find suadero, you may need to shop specifically at a local butcher shop. You may also benefit from searching for suadero at a Mexican meat market.

Mexican meat markets are grocery stores that also carry items that are well known and made in Mexico. Mexican meat markets carry a variety of foods, including cuts of meat, Mexican cakes and chips, Mexican candy, and Mexican sodas as well. Wherever you find your suadero, there are many ways to prepare and enjoy this protein-packed meat.

How to Make Suadero

To get the right flavor into the beef, cooks often dry rub it or marinade it with seasonings like chile, garlic, onion, cilantro and salt. The meat is then cooked with a slow-cooking process like braising or smoking — both of which are intended to preserve moisture. Suadero can also be prepared in a pressure cooker. Then, upon service, cooks will often slice and toss the cooked meat on a hot grill to quickly sear it before placement in hard or soft tacos with customary accompaniments like lettuce, onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and green or red salsa. Sometimes, suadero is served with hot salsa when it’s served as taco meat.

What are Suadero Tacos?

Taquerias in Mexico and abroad often offer a range of taco fillings. A few of the more traditional preparations from the cow are called carne asada, the spicy barbacoa, simple ground beef, and even meat from the head, called cabeza. Some forgo beef all together and favor pork cuts that most frequently make their way into tacos, including the tender carnitas and the gyro-like al pastor.

Is Suadero Healthy?

Like most cuts of beef, suadero is a good source of protein and iron, but it can also be high in cholesterol and saturated fats. Suadero meat can still be a healthy source of protein and B12 vitamins, but it should be eaten in moderation because of beef’s connection to high cholesterol and saturated fats. Suadero also has the potential to lose some of its health benefits depending on how it’s prepared.

Some cooks may choose to cook suadero in a slow cooker, allowing the meat to marinate in its juices. This would make for a healthier meal of suadero rather than frying the cuts of meat in oil. Cooks can also choose to serve their suadero with a side of peppers, onions, cilantro, and avocado rather than tortillas. Suadero has the potential to be a healthy dish, but this truly depends on the preparation method of the meat.

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    • Suadero fajitas.
      By: JJAVA
      Suadero fajitas.
    • After being slow-cooked, suadero is often tossed onto a grill just before serving.
      By: GraphicCompressor
      After being slow-cooked, suadero is often tossed onto a grill just before serving.