Bistec de Palomilla

Bistec de Palomilla, or Cuban-style Steak as it is colloquially called, is one of the definitive dishes of Cuban cuisine. While growing up in New Jersey, most of Vito’s classmates and their families had newly arrived from Cuba.  After school, it was a very special treat to be asked to stay for dinner at friends’ homes when their mothers would make Bistec de Palomilla for dinner.  Elegant and delicious, it’s the go-to main course when dining in a Cuban restaurant.

Bistec de Palomilla

Vito has such wonderful memories of having this dish at friends’ homes and associates it with real Cuban home cooking.  While every family had their own recipe for Bistec de Palomilla, we humbly offer you oue own take on this Cuban classic for you to cook and eat at home with family and friends. Rather than frying the beef, we prefer and recommend grilling it.  Enjoy with black bean sauce, fried plantains or boiled yucca and we predict it will become a favorite at your house.

Bistec de Palomilla

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: 1 hour plus marinating time* Serves: 4

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  • 2/3 cup freshly-squeezed Lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ tsp coarse Sea Salt
  • ½ Tb dried Oregano leaves
  • ½ tsp ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp dried Thyme leaves
  • ½ Tb granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tb minced Garlic
  • 2 large Onions, peeled and trimmed
  • 4 very thinly sliced Rib Eye, Top Sirloin or Round Steaks or 4 pieces of Flap Meat
  • 4 Tb Cooking Oil (Olive/Canola Oil blend is recommended)


  1. Mix the lime juice, red wine vinegar, sea salt, oregano, allspice, thyme, sugar and garlic together to make your mojo (marinade).
  2. Slice the onions very thinly.
  3. Pour some marinade into a container large enough to contain the beef, onions and the marinade. Place a layer of the sliced onions on top of the marinade, then a layer of the beef, pour some additional marinade over the beef and repeat layering the onions, beef and marinade until all are used. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and return to room temperature.
  5. Add the cooking oil to a wide frying pan and heat at medium high.
  6. Remove the onions from the marinating beef and place them into the hot cooking oil in the frying pan; cover and fry until golden brown.
  7. Add half the marinade to the onions and continue to cook, uncovered, until the marinade is absorbed; cover and keep warm.
  8. Heat the grill on high, when you can hold your hand 1-inch from the grill surface for 5 seconds before it is too hot, the grill is ready.
  9. Place the beef on the grill and, basting with remaining marinade, grill until desired level of doneness, turning once.
  10. Serve immediately accompanied by the fried onions. Black bean sauce, fried plantains or boiled yucca are the traditional side dishes served with Bistec de Palomilla.