While alpaca meat is not yet available commercially in Australia, it is much sought after by chefs. Prized for its delicate flavour, alpaca meat offers a great alternative to lamb. In this Peruvian recipe the shoulder is brined and then slowly cooked.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (91 votes)


  • 1 alpaca shoulder
  • quinoa, to serve
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1 brown onion, halved and sliced


  • 500 g white sugar
  • 500 g table salt
  • 5 litres water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

Huanta paste

  • 3 dried aji panca chillies, stalks trimmed
  • 3 dried aji mirasol chillies, stalks trimmed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 4 hours 

To make the brine, place the sugar, salt and water in a large saucepan and whisk vigorously until sugar and salt dissolve. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Add the spices and bay leaves and cool to room temperature. Add the alpaca to brine and stand for 4 hours.

To make the huanta paste, blanch the chillies in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Place the olive oil and garlic cloves in a saucepan over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the onion and stand for 10 minutes. Place chillies and olive oil mixture in a blender and process until a smooth paste forms.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Spread the potatoes and onion evenly over tray. Drain alpaca and pat dry. Thickly brush all over with huanta paste. Place on top of vegetables.

Cover tray with foil and cook for 3–4 hours, or until meat falls off the bone.