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My Perfect Dish: Sobrebarriga


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Joannes Woodley



Food travel is one of the most exciting and fulfilling ways to explore different cultures and experience the authentic flavors of a region. From street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants, every destination has its culinary gems waiting to be discovered. And when it comes to combining the thrill of travel with the pleasure of indulging in delicious dishes, there’s nothing quite like embarking on a food travel adventure.


One dish that deserves a special place in the food travel realm is Sobrebarriga. This mouth-watering Colombian specialty is a tantalizing combination of flavors, textures, and culinary traditions. Whether you’re a meat lover or a food explorer seeking new taste sensations, Sobrebarriga is a must-try dish that will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Colombia.


But what exactly is Sobrebarriga? How did it come to be? And what makes it so unique? In this article, we’ll delve into the origins of Sobrebarriga, explore its key ingredients, unravel the cooking process, and provide tips for perfecting this delectable dish.


So buckle up and prepare to embark on a culinary journey that will introduce you to the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Sobrebarriga.


What is Sobrebarriga?

Sobrebarriga, which translates to “over the belly” in English, is a traditional Colombian beef dish that showcases the country’s love for flavorful meats. It consists of slow-cooked flank steak, marinated in a mouth-watering blend of spices, herbs, and other ingredients that infuse the meat with a burst of taste.


What sets Sobrebarriga apart from other beef dishes is its tender and succulent texture. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience with each bite. It’s no wonder that Sobrebarriga has become a beloved favorite among locals and tourists alike.


Sobrebarriga is not just a dish; it’s a representation of Colombian cuisine and culture. The flavors and techniques used in preparing this dish are deeply rooted in the country’s traditions, making it a true culinary gem. It’s a dish that brings people together, evoking a sense of comfort, warmth, and a shared love for good food.


Colombia, known for its diverse gastronomic scene, takes pride in Sobrebarriga as one of its iconic dishes. While variations of the dish can be found in different regions of the country, the essence remains the same – a hearty and flavorsome beef dish that will leave you craving for more.


The Origin of Sobrebarriga

The origin of Sobrebarriga can be traced back to the cattle ranches and farms of Colombia, where beef plays a prominent role in the country’s culinary heritage. This savory dish is believed to have its roots in the Colombian countryside, where it was traditionally prepared as a hearty meal for ranch workers and farmers.


Colombia’s abundant cattle ranches provided a ready supply of beef, making it an accessible and affordable protein source for the local population. Sobrebarriga was born out of the need to create a flavorful and satisfying dish using simple ingredients and traditional cooking methods.


The cooking process for Sobrebarriga involves marinating the flank steak in a blend of spices, herbs, and other seasonings to enhance its natural flavors. The meat is then slow-cooked for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld together and the meat to become tender and succulent.


Over time, Sobrebarriga became more than just a meal for ranch workers. It gained popularity among Colombians of all backgrounds and was soon embraced as a beloved national dish. Today, you can find Sobrebarriga on the menus of Colombian restaurants and households across the country, as well as in Colombian communities around the world.


While Sobrebarriga has become synonymous with Colombian cuisine, variations of this dish can also be found in other Latin American countries. Each region adds its own unique twist, incorporating local ingredients and culinary traditions. However, no matter the variation, Sobrebarriga remains a celebration of beef and the flavors that define Latin American cuisine.


Ingredients Required

To recreate the authentic flavors of Sobrebarriga, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  1. Flank steak: This is the star of the dish, providing the juicy and flavorful meat. Look for a well-marbled piece for maximum tenderness.
  2. Onion: A staple in many Colombian dishes, onion adds a savory sweetness to the marinade and complements the beef perfectly.
  3. Garlic: This aromatic ingredient helps to enhance the overall flavor profile of Sobrebarriga.
  4. Cilantro: With its vibrant and fresh taste, cilantro adds a burst of herbaceousness to the dish.
  5. Ground cumin: A popular spice in Latin American cuisine, cumin adds depth and warmth to the marinade.
  6. Beef broth: This provides moisture and richness to the dish, helping to tenderize the flank steak during the cooking process.
  7. Bay leaves: These fragrant leaves add a subtle earthiness to the marinade.
  8. Salt and pepper: Essential for seasoning the meat to perfection.
  9. Lime juice: The tanginess of lime juice adds a refreshing element to balance out the flavors.
  10. Olive oil: Used for marinating the meat and for cooking.

These ingredients come together harmoniously to create the signature flavors that make Sobrebarriga a standout dish in Colombian cuisine. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or simply indulging in a flavorful meal, gathering these ingredients is the first step towards creating an unforgettable dining experience.


Cooking Process

Preparing Sobrebarriga requires time, patience, and attention to detail. Follow these steps to create a delicious and tender Sobrebarriga:

  1. Start by marinating the flank steak. In a large bowl, combine diced onion, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, ground cumin, beef broth, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Mix well.
  2. Add the flank steak to the marinade, making sure it is fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and tenderize it.
  3. Once the meat has marinated, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  4. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove the flank steak from the marinade, reserving the marinade for later use.
  5. Sear the flank steak on both sides until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Pour the reserved marinade over the flank steak in the pot. Add enough water or beef broth to cover the meat.
  7. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and can be easily pulled apart with a fork.
  8. Once the meat is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.
  9. Slice the flank steak against the grain into thin strips. This ensures maximum tenderness.
  10. Serve the Sobrebarriga with the cooking liquid as a gravy or alongside traditional Colombian sides like rice, plantains, and arepas.

With each bite, you’ll savor the delicious combination of flavors and the tender texture of the slow-cooked flank steak. Don’t rush the cooking process, as the low and slow method is key to achieving the desired results.


Remember, cooking Sobrebarriga is not just about following a recipe—it’s about infusing the dish with love, passion, and the rich culinary traditions of Colombia.


Tips for Perfecting Sobrebarriga

While the cooking process for Sobrebarriga is relatively straightforward, here are some tips to help you perfect this delicious Colombian dish:

  1. Choose the right cut of flank steak: Look for a well-marbled piece of flank steak, as this will ensure a tender and juicy end result.
  2. Marinate overnight: For the best flavor, allow the flank steak to marinate in the spice mixture for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhance its taste.
  3. Bring the meat to room temperature: Before cooking, remove the marinated flank steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. This will ensure even cooking and help to preserve the meat’s tenderness.
  4. Sear the meat for a flavorful crust: Before simmering the flank steak, sear it on high heat to create a caramelized crust. This adds depth of flavor to the dish.
  5. Simmer on low heat: Once the searing is done, lower the heat and simmer the meat gently. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together and ensures that the meat becomes tender and easily shreddable.
  6. Be patient: Quality slow-cooked dishes take time. Allow the Sobrebarriga to simmer for a minimum of 2-3 hours, or until the meat is beautifully tender and falls apart easily.
  7. Rest the meat before slicing: Let the cooked flank steak rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and moist final product.
  8. Serve with traditional accompaniments: To truly enjoy Sobrebarriga, serve it with classic Colombian side dishes like rice, plantains, and arepas. These accompaniments complement the flavors of the dish and add variety to the meal.
  9. Adjust seasoning to taste: Taste the cooking liquid before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more salt, pepper, or lime juice to balance the flavors according to your preferences.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a perfect plate of Sobrebarriga that showcases the rich flavors and tender texture that make this dish so beloved in Colombia.


Serving Suggestions

Sobrebarriga is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your Sobrebarriga experience:

  1. Classic Colombian style: Serve Sobrebarriga with traditional Colombian accompaniments like steamed rice, ripe plantains, and arepas. The combination of flavors and textures will transport you straight to the streets of Colombia.
  2. Tacos or empanadas: Use the tender, shredded Sobrebarriga as a filling for tacos or empanadas. Top with your favorite salsa, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for a delightful handheld treat.
  3. Loaded nachos: Top a bed of crispy tortilla chips with the shredded Sobrebarriga, melted cheese, black beans, guacamole, and sour cream. This indulgent twist on a classic snack is perfect for sharing at parties or casual gatherings.
  4. Steak sandwiches: Pile the Sobrebarriga onto a crusty roll, add some sautéed peppers and onions, and drizzle with a zesty chimichurri sauce. This hearty sandwich is a great option for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
  5. Salads: Incorporate the Sobrebarriga into a fresh salad for a lighter option. Combine mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced Sobrebarriga. Dress with a tangy lime vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious meal.

Remember, Sobrebarriga is a versatile dish that can be adapted and served according to your preferences and creativity. Feel free to experiment with different toppings, sauces, and accompaniments to create your own unique spin on this classic Colombian dish.


No matter how you choose to serve it, Sobrebarriga is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more of its irresistible flavors.



Sobrebarriga, with its tender and flavorful beef, is a dish that embodies the essence of Colombian cuisine. This beloved Colombian specialty, marinated with a blend of spices and slow-cooked to perfection, showcases the rich culinary heritage of the country.


Through its origins in the Colombian countryside and its evolution as a national dish, Sobrebarriga has become a symbol of comfort, togetherness, and the vibrant flavors of Colombia. It is a dish that brings people together to share in the pleasure of good food and great company.


Whether you’re a food traveler looking to explore the diverse fare of Colombia, or simply someone who appreciates a quality, flavorful meal, Sobrebarriga is a must-try dish. Its tender meat, infused with a variety of seasonings, will leave your taste buds satisfied and your senses captivated.


So go ahead, gather the ingredients, follow the cooking process, and serve Sobrebarriga with your favorite accompaniments. Whether you opt for a traditional Colombian feast or get creative with your own unique twist, this dish is sure to impress and transport you to the colorful streets and vibrant food scene of Colombia.


Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure and discover the joy of Sobrebarriga—a dish that captures the heart and soul of Colombian food travel.