Mexican Tamales,Tamales Mexicanos de Puerco

Juliann Esquivel


For some time I have wondered if I shoud post this recipe. It is long and hard but so many people have asked for it here it is.

If any dish signifies Christmas it's this dish my grandmother would start around the 20 or 21 of Dec, to make these delicious tamales. It was a two day procedure and involved all for us helping her to prepare everything.

The results amazing. Now I buy my corn already cooked and ground not like my Mama who would cook the corn two days prior and grind it herself. I made tamles today it took two days to make them from scratch as my Mama, my grandma taught me enjoy

pinch tips: Flour, Eggs & Breading Techniques



a big crowd


24 Hr


1 Hr 30 Min




5 to 6 lb
pork shoulder, cooled and shredded in small pieces,
2 & 1/2 gal
salted water (2 tsp) to cook the pork shoulder
2 large
onions quarted
5 clove
fresh garlic cloves smashed or chrushed
2 large
bay leafs
1 tsp
ground cumin
~~~chile sauce~~~
10/15 large
dried ancho chiles, seeds & stems removed
1 qt
water salted with (1 tsp salt) to boil the dried chiles
1 large
onion peeled and quarted
5 clove
fresh garlic peeled seperated
1 large
whole tablet or disk of mexican chocolate such as iberia or abuelita brand
2 tsp
smooth peanut butter
3 tsp
cumin powder
1 tsp
garlic powder
2 or 3 c
pork broth
~~~ masa ~~~
5 lb
ground corn masa or 1 large bags (4.4 lb) maseca instant corn masa flour
2 lb
pork lard or crisco vegetable shortening
4 to/6 Tbsp
salt to suit your taste
10 to 12 c
pork broth
2 tsp
baking powder
3 1/4 lb
dried corn husks opened and soaked in hot water.
1 large
tamale steamer or a very large deep pot such as a lobster or crab steamer with a lid.

Directions Step-By-Step

Day one cook pork shoulder in a deep pot cover with the water add the quartered onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and cumin. For added flavor add a tsp of granulated garlic powder to the water bring to a boil skim the scum off the top reduce heat and simmer about 4 or 5 hours. Meat must be falling off the bone tender. Remove from heat and let cool. If you like refrigerate and the next day shredd meat with two forks. Do not remove the congeled fat from the cold broth. You will need this extra fat to make your tamale masa tender.
Same day Make Red Chile sauce or red tamale sauce to flavor the pork meat. Remove stems and all the seeds from the ancho chiles. In a very large tray like a cookie sheet grease with a little oil and put the dried chiles on it put into a preheated hot oven moderate heat for a few minutes such as 2 1/2 minutes then open oven and turn chiles on the other side and roast 2 1/2 minutes more. Be very careful not to scorch the chiles if they scorch they will turn bitter and you will have to start over. They scorch and burn very easy so you must watch them very closely. This roasting step brings out the deep rich chile flavor. Remove from the oven do not leave in more the 5 minutes total time. Put the roasted chiles in a pot and cover with water add a tsp of salt to the water and add the onion and garlic. Bring the chiles to a boil reduce heat and steady simmer for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes have passed shut off heat and let cool in their water until they are reasonably able to handle. Next in a blender add half the chiles half the cooked onion, two cooked garlic cloves and process until the chile is throughly blended into a paste. Add half the tablet or disk of Mexican chocolate, half a tablspoon of the peanut butter, half the teaspoon of cumin powder and a little pork broth about a half cup and blend on high until smooth. With a rubber spatula scrape out the chile paste and proceed with the rest of the chiles. remaining onion and garlic, cloves other half chocolate disk or tablet, remaing peanut butter and the other half of cumin powder. Add a little more pork broth about half a cup and process until smooth Do all of your chiles like this you might need more disks of Mexican chocolate and peanut butter to finish all of your chiles. The chocolate and peanut butter round out and smooth the flavor of the ancho chiles.
Start with one cup of your red chile sauce and add it to you shredded meat mixture you should make sure your meat is warm you can heat it up a little in the micro wave. It will be easier to mix if the meat is warm rather then cold from the refrigerator. Mix your cup of chile paste with the meat and continue to add more chile paste until your meat is moist and saucy but"Not soupy" if your sauce is a little dry add a little more pork broth to it. then mix well and incorporate into your meat. You're meat should look like a saucy pulled pork consistency. Taste to see if it has enough salt and pepper. If You have red chile sauce left over put in small freezer bags, freeze and save for making enchilada sauce or mole. You're meat is now ready to fill the tamales. Set aside.
The Masa, Using a large roaster deep pan now take your 4.4 pound bag of Maseca or 5 lbs of ground masa if you are lucky enough to find it. Add your Maseca to or ground masa to the deep pan add the melted pork lard shoud be cool enough to handle and add the pork broth by the cupfull make sure it is very warm it should not be hot. You should be able to handle the mixing with your hands. (Note: for this recipe pork lard is what gives these tamales the rich delicious flavor. No amount of crisco or other fat will acomplish the incredible flavor the pork lard gives Mexican Tamales. With that I leave you to make your decision as to what fat to use.) I like to melt my pork fat in the microwave let it cool. Add your salt and baking powder with the pork broth Mix again I do this by hand It can be very tiresome so I get one or two of my strong grandsons to mix the masa for me as I add the broth lard salt and baking powder. If using the Maseca add cupfuls of broth one at a time until you have a nice spreadable consistency. Taste the masa to make sure it has enough salt. Your masa should have the consisteny of a thick soft creamy oat meal or better yet like a think creamy polenta. Set Masa aside and prepair the corn husks
The Corn husks. Remove corn husks one by and clean and remove any dried corn silk. Again in a very large deep pan I use another roaster I fill with hot water and put all the cleaned and seperated husks to soak. Soaking takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove a large handful and wring the water out by squeezing the husks. Lay in a tray and with a clean dish towel blot the exces water from them. Keep them covered so they do not dry out. Now you are ready for spreading the masa on the husk. Take a butter knife dip in the masa and get a nice amount and spread on the husk over the entire bottom half leaving the top triangle part of the husk bare. Spread like if you would be spreading peanut butter on bread. About a little less then 1/4 inch thick on your husk do not spread all the way to the ends of the husk leave bare a little on each side. Now take a good size tablespoon of meat mixture and lay down the center of the prepared masa husk. Fold one edge of the husk over the other to form a slender tamale. The overlaping masa will help to keep the tamale together. Next fold the top half over the tamale itselt and lay seam down do all of your tamales like this until you have enough to put and stack in a steamer pot to cook.
Cooking your tamales. If you have a tamale steamer pot you add boing water to the bottom half and stack the tamales standing up in a cicular layers with the open side up. Then on top of those another circular row always standing up the open side facing up. Pour the hot water down the side when adding more water. The tamles should never be emersed in water they cook by steaming. Cover the layers with loose tamles husks and a clean dish towel over everything and then cover. Enough water should be at them bottom to steam the tamlaes for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Some people steam only one hour but when I make tamales I have so many in the pot that I steam for one hour and a half to ensure complete cooking. Be sure you are always nearby so the water does not run out. If the water goes down add more boiling water down the side of the pot. After the time has elapsed shut off and uncover the pot let cool. You can remove with tongs as the tamales will be extreemly hot. When they have cooled you can bag and freeze Some tmes I bag 12 to or 6 to a bag. I always save some to eat the next day you can refrigerate. Always leave your tamales in the husk when freezing remove the husk only to eat. You can eat in the microwave only needs a minute or so to reheat.

If you have no tamale steamer you can use a large regular steamer pot such as a crab pot or large lobster pot. Put a large bowl in the middle and some sort of preforated pie pan on top. My grandmother had two large aluminum pie tins that she had my grandfather put holes in all around. She put the pie tin over the bowl so the tamlaes would be above the water. She then would stack her tamales standing up inclining a little towards the center in a cicular position. She would put a large mug in the middle of the pie pan so the tamales could rest aganist it and work around stacking the tamales. I know this recipe will not be made by everyone but for those who have asked good luck and Enjoy.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Pork, Tacos & Burritos
Main Ingredient: Pork
Regional Style: Mexican
Hashtag: #tamales