Pork tamales may seem difficult to make but they aren’t. The key is to spread the process out over two days. I promise this makes everything a whole lot easier. My favorite are the pork tamales but I love all tamales. Making tamales yourself is definitely the way to go. Many times when you buy them they will only have a tiny bit of meat inside and lot of masa. I think that’s a huge rip off! My recipe includes plenty of meat filling and it makes dozens of tamales. I have included some photos that should make things easier if you have never made tamales before.
I love making tamales for the holidays. Many people choose to have a tamale making party. This is a great option as you can get it done faster this way. Unfortunately for me it’s just my husband and I making them. But that’s ok! I break it down into steps and it’s not bad at all once you get the hang of it.
If you’re making tamales for the holidays be sure to also check out my bunuelos. They are also super popular.
How to Make Pork Tamales
Day 1: Make the meat and chile sauce
Put the meat, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
While meat is cooking toast the chiles on both sides in a skillet over medium heat. This will take less than a minute.
Transfer chiles, onion and garlic to a pot with about 6-7 cups of warm water and simmer on medium low for about 10 min or until chiles are soft.
Transfer the chiles, onion and garlic to a blender with 5 cups of the water and blend for 1 min. Do this in two batches.
Add 1 1/2 tbsp of oil to a pot over medium heat. When oil is hot strain the chile sauce into the pot.
Simmer over medium low heat for about 15 min. Salt to taste. Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for the masa.
When the meat is done remove it from stockpot and shred with two forks making sure to discard any fat. Or use your hands when meat is cool. When the broth is cool strain it and store it in the refrigerator.
Mix together the shredded meat and the chile sauce. Don’t forget to reserve a 1/2 cup of the sauce which we will use for the masa.
Store the meat and the rest of the sauce in the refrigerator
Day 2: Make the tamales
Put the corn husks in a large pot with hot water and bring to a boil turn the heat off and let the husks soak for at least one hour.
Take the broth out from the refrigerator and skim off the fat
In a large bowl mix together the Maseca, baking powder and salt. Then add 5 cups of the broth and the 1/2 cup of reserved sauce and mix well either with a spatula or your hands.
In another bowl beat the 2 cups of lard with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes.
Add the Maseca and broth mixture to the lard and continue to beat for about 3 minutes more.
After the husks have soaked shake off the excess water. Take 1 husk and spread a heaping tablespoon of masa over it. Then add a heaping tablespoon of the pork filling on it.
Fold the sides of the husk then fold the bottom part of the husk up. You can tie the tamales with long stringy pieces of the husks to make them more secure but this is optional.
Repeat the above step until all the masa and pork filling are gone. Fill a tamale steamer with enough water so that it wont run out while steaming but not too much that it gets the tamales wet. The water shouldn’t come through the holes of the steamer insert.
Put all of the pork tamales in the steamer standing up. Bring the water in the steamer to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 1 hour. If the masa is mushy and is still sticking to the husks steam for an additional 15-20 min.
For the meat
- 5 pounds pork butt cut up into pieces
- 1 white onion quartered
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 16 cups of water
- 3 teaspoons of salt
For the sauce
- 25 dried guajillo peppers
- 5 dried morita peppers
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 cups of water
- 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
- salt to taste
For the masa
- 5 cups of Maseca for tamales
- 5 cups of pork broth
- 1/2 cup of chile sauce
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 cups of lard
- corn husks
For the meat
Add the pork, onion, garlic, bay leaves, water and salt to a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender and falls apart easily.
Remove meat from pot and transfer to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Or when cool use your hands to shred.
Strain the broth and when cool place in the refrigerator.
Skim the fat off from the broth.
For the sauce
Toast chiles in a skillet over medium heat. (about 25 seconds)
Toast garlic and onion.
Transfer chiles, garlic and onion to a pot with about 6-7 cups of warm water and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer for about 10 min or until chiles are soft.
Transfer contents to a blender with about 5 cups of the water from the chiles.
Blend for 1 minute (Do this in 2 batches).
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat and when hot strain the chile sauce into the pot. stir, cover and cook over medium low for about 15 min. Season well with salt.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for the masa
Add the shredded pork to the chile sauce and stir well.
For the masa
Soak the corn husks in hot water for 1 hour
In a large bowl add the Maseca, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Add the broth and chile sauce to the Maseca and mix well making sure the dough is moist.
In another bowl beat the lard with a mixer until it is fluffy. (a couple minutes)
Add the masa to the lard and continue to beat for 3 min
Assembling the tamales
Spread a heaping tbsp of masa over the corn husks.
Add a heaping tbsp of the pork onto the masa.
Fold each side of the husk and then fold the bottom part of the husk up
Fill the steamer with water then put the steamer insert in and add the tamales standing up.
Bring the water in the steamer to a boil and lower it to medium low.
Cover and cook for 1 hour.