Thursday, February 17, 2011

How To Make Tamales


1-1#bag of corn husks

12 cup masa
3 cup lard or shortening divided
8-10 cup pork broth (or whatever meat you use)
3tsp salt

9-10# pork boiled till tender and deboned chopped in food processor. You can shred meat with fingers or forks if you like that texture better.
Save broth for making masa
2 taco mix
1 large can of jalapenos chopped in food processor
1 can rotel (tomatoes and chiles I use walmart brand)

Here is what I do
After meat is done cooking I let it and broth cool. I pour off the broth into a gallon jar and refridgerate until the fat hardens on the top of broth and I skim it off and throw it away. I put the meat into the food processor and chop it (not mush it) then I blend together the Rotel, taco seasoning and jalapenos in the processor and add to the meat. I make sure the seasonings are mixed into the meat thoroughly . The idea is to have the meat spicy because the masa, while it has a good, wholesome, corny taste to it, is bland, in that there is no spiciness whatsoever.

About an hour before I'm ready to make the masa and roll tamales, I put my corn husk into a bowl or gallon jug and run HOT water over them and let them soak until I'm ready to roll tamales. Before I roll I put them into a strainer and let them drain.

Put 2c lard in large bowl the other 1c lard in a pan to melt. Mix lard with 4c masa and salt. Then alternate adding rest of masa and broth. Then add melted lard. You want a masa that spreads easy on the husk but is not too wet. If it doesn't spread easy add in a bit more broth. Mixing masa is hard on your mixer. I go through 2-3 cheap mixers a year if I'm making tamales every week.

When you roll tamales feel your corn husks. One side will feel smooth and the other will feel rough. Spread masa on the smooth side.

After they are rolled I put them in my steamer and steam for about 2-3 hours.
The way to tell if your tamales are done is to take one out of the steamer and let it set for 3-5 min. When you unroll the tamale it should pull away from the husk smoothly.

This recipe makes 9-12 dozen tamales.

Soaked Husks
Tamale's 1

Masa should have a smooth consistency. It should spread on to the husk smoothly. If it is hard to spread add more broth. Dryer masa will result in tougher tamales. Too wet masa will result in mushy tamales.
Seasoned meat (pork in this picture...dd said it looked like oatmeal cookie dough)
Spread the masa on the husk. I hold the husk with the narrow end pointing away from me and spread it on with the back of a spoon.
I bring the outer edges of the husk together and run my fingers down the husk where the masa meets inside, to seal the tamale...this is what makes the masa completely encase the meat.
Roll the extra husk around the tamale and fold the pointed end up.
As I roll them I stack them on the table.
When I get 8-9 dozen rolled I load them in the steamer.
Tamales 8
Even the very youngest love them.
We Love Tamales 2

Also tamales freeze well. Some of our favorite ways to eat tamales....Tamales and chili, tamales dipped in ranch, cold tamales, tamales with salsa and cheese and tamales with enchilada sauce.
People who like tamales like my recipe. People who don't like them, are usually people who don't like spicy food.(I used to sell these every Saturday at a local farmers market)


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I love tamalies, I will be making these! Where did you buy your steamer? Thanks again. Blessings jane

  2. They sound .... interesting. Can you believe that I have never had any?!

    And I'm trying to figure out what you apron says is better than you cook. :)

  3. Great post! I would love to make these when I have a crowd of people to eat them. Btw, thank you for visiting my blog (a few weeks ago). I wanted to leave a comment here then, but I read blogs on my phone and the comment form used here is not compatible. Anyway, thanks again.