Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

pork tamales

★★★★★ 1
a recipe by
Katrina Roubedeaux
Fresno, CA

I have worked to perfect this recipe over the years. My husband loves tamales and I knew he would appreciate it if we made a few dozen every year at Christmas; however, I really hate dry tamales! I have learned from a few wonderful cooks how they make tamales and I decided to try my own idea out... Instant success! This is the best (moist) tamale recipe ever! It is also very easy with the pressure cooker!!!

★★★★★ 1
serves 12-24
prep time 2 Hr
cook time 13 Hr
method Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot

Ingredients For pork tamales

  • 1 pkg
    chorizo (mexican sausage, mild or medium
  • 4-5 lb
    pork shoulder (bone-in)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • ground garlic with parsley
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1 lg
    onion (cut into quarters)
  • 1
    head of garlic (cut in half)
  • 1 jar
    (12 oz) sofrito (goya brand)
  • 1 jar
    (10 oz) small/medium green olives with pimento
  • 1 can
    ro-tel original (small can)
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 3 c
    beef broth
  • 1 tsp
  • 3
    bay leaves
  • DAY 2: MASA
  • 1/2 bag
    maseca (masa) 4.4 pound bag
  • 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1 Tbsp
    baking powder
  • 1 lb
    lard (manteca)
  • 3-4 c
    beef broth
  • 1 c
    pork tamale sauce
  • all remaining contents from the crock pot (onion, bay leaves, and garlic head removed)
  • 2 bag
    corn husks
  • 2 c
    cotijo cheese (ground fine)
  • 1 jar
    (10 oz) small/medium green olives with pimento

How To Make pork tamales

  • 1
    Day 1: In a medium frying pan, saute the entire package of pork chorizo sausage until cooked through. Set aside.
  • 2
    Liberally season the pork roast with salt, pepper, and ground garlic on all sides.
  • 3
    In a separate (large) skillet, brown all sides of the pork roast in the olive oil. Once browned, place the roast in a large crock pot (6 quarts or larger).
  • 4
    Cover the pork roast (in the following order) with the chorizo, onion quarters, garlic halves, 1 jar of green olives (drained), 1 jar of sofrito, 1 can of Rotel, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Pour the beef broth around the sides of the pork roast, and sprinkle the top (of everything) with the cumin.
  • 5
    Cover and allow the roast to cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and allow to cook slow for the next 8-10 hours (or until extremely tender). I like to let mine cook over night. The meat should fall apart with a pair of tongs... yummy!
  • 6
    Day 2: In a large pot or bowl, soak the corn husks in warm water for about 30-60 minutes (set aside).
  • 7
    Now the tricky part. I like to separate the meat, the sauce, and the discarded items all at once. First, remove and discard the bay leaves, the onion quarters, the bone, and whatever remains of the garlic head. I like to leave several garlic cloves in the sauce. Next, carefully remove the meat and place into a separate (large) tray or dish. Shred the pork as you go and remove/discard any fat. All that should remain in the crock pot is the olives, drippings, broth, and whatever remains from the Rotel and Sofrito.
  • 8
    Pour (or scoop out) all the remains from the crock pot and place into a large bender or food processor. Process the remains into a creamy sauce.
  • 9
    Pour approximately 2 cups of the sauce over the shredded pork and mix to coat the pork evenly. Reserve 1-2 cups of the sauce for the masa and the remaining can be used to serve over the tamales.
  • 10
    In a small sauce pan, melt the lard over low heat. Do not bring the heat up too high; we only want the lard melted.
  • 11
    In a standing mixer, mix approximately 1/2 of the bag of Masa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add beef broth, tamale sauce, and lard and mix until you reach the consistency of a fluffly/soft cookie dough.
  • 12
    Remove the corn husks from the water, and rinse each husk to remove any dried silk strings or particles (you do not want these in your tamales). Pat each husk dry with a paper towel.
  • 13
    Assembly: I like to use a large wooden cutting board and a putty knife-shaped spatula. Pile the masa on the corner of the board and loosely cover with a sheet of wax paper to keep from drying.
  • 14
    Heap about 1-2 tablespoons of masa on the center of a husk... use the spatula to spread the masa evenly (about 1/8 -1/4 inch thick). To do this, start with the wide end of the husk facing you and the narrow triangle end point away. Starting in the center of the husk, scrape the masa toward you (leaving the triangle without any masa on it).
  • 15
    Place a heaping tablespoon of pork mixture in the center of the corn husk (on the masa). Arrange the pork to stretch the length of the masa from wide end to the narrow end. Do not place the mixture outside of the masa. Place two green olives in the center and sprinkle with a teaspoon of cotija cheese.
  • 16
    Roll the sides up and fold the bottom over. You may use strips of corn husk to tie the tamale closed or stack them securing the folded end down. Repeat this process until all the masa is used. If there is remaining pork, you may make another batch of masa. When using a 4 pound pork roast, It usually works pretty evenly. These measurements should make approximately 48 tamales.
  • 17
    In a large pressure cooker, pour in 3 quarts of hot water. Place the rack on the bottom and loosely line the bottom with half of the remaining corn husks.
  • 18
    Place the tamales in the cooker standing up (open end facing up). I usually start on outside and work my way inward. If there is still space in the middle, you may use more corn husk if needed. I use a 23-quart pressure cooker and fit all 48 perfectly.
  • 19
    Line the top of the tamales with the remaining corn husks. Seal the lid. I vent for 10 minutes, place my weight, bring up to 15 pound of pressure, and process my tamales for 20 minutes. I allow natural release for 10 minutes and then force release by removing the weight. DO NOT OPEN UNTIL PRESSURE IS ALL THE WAY DOWN. Check the instructions of your pressure cooker.
  • 20
    If you do not use a pressure cooker, set up is the same on a rack in a large pot (steamer) with a lid. Steam on high for 90 minutes.