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How to make pulled pork tamales

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    How to make pulled pork tamales

    After working on this for a couple of days it looked like a hand written novel. In order to shorten it a bit I will refer you to a couple of places for making the masa and assembly. This recipe will make about 16 tamales.

    The ingredients needed are:
    1 bag masa harina
    1/2 lb lard
    1 box chicken broth, I use the 32 oz Swanson broth
    1 box beef broth, same brand and size as above
    baking powder
    kosher salt
    1 15 oz can tomato sauce
    at least 3 tablespoons of chili powder, I prefer Morton and Bassett
    3 tablespoons chopped dehydrated onion
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 1/2 lbs pulled pork
    1 package dried corn husks

    Place the corn husks in a large bowl and cover them with warm water. You will need a weight of some kind to hold them down. I use a sauce pan lid. After 30 minutes change the water and soak for 30 more minutes.

    The masa recipe I use is at, Serious eats, Basic Mexican tamale dough recipe. Don't use water, use chicken broth, they don't taste authentic with water.

    To make the pulled pork filling place the pork in a skillet or pot with a lid. Add enough beef broth to make it very moist. Add the dehydrated onion, chili powder, garlic, and about 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Heat over low heat. I don't make a separate red sauce. I season the pork as I warm it. It will take about 20 minutes for the ingredients to hydrate and release their flavor. Taste the pork, add more chili powder if you want deeper flavor, if you are good with the flavor, but want more heat add a little cayenne powder. Continue to simmer the meat for another 20 minutes. I normally end up adding more beef broth as the pork absorbs it. You want the meat moist.

    Shreded brisket with green chili sauce tamales are incredible also.

    For assembly instructions go to: Spruce eats, how to make tamales, a step by step guide with photos.

    I steam mine for an hour, then stack and wrap them in aluminum foil. Next I like to cover them with a towel for an hour to left everything set and let the flavors develop​​​​​.

    I know this sounds like a lot of trouble, but they are so good. Once you get the hange of it you can up scale the recipe and make several dozen at a time. Wrapped tightly they freeze well.

    This is a great cold winters day project.

    Last edited by Oak Smoke; December 23, 2019, 07:04 AM.

    A bag of masa harina is 2.2lbs or 1 kilo just for reference.


    • CaptainMike
      CaptainMike commented
      Editing a comment
      Damn, talk about a "flashback". When I was a medic every measurement was metric. When you had to chart a patient's weight at 200 kg it meant you probably had a rough call.

    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      I remembered what a kilo was, yeah man.

    • gcdmd
      gcdmd commented
      Editing a comment
      as in?
      Coming into Los Angeles
      Bringing in a couple of keys
      But don't touch my bags if you please
      Mister Customs Man

    Thanx for this.


      Sounds awesome! Will try soon!


        Thanks for taking the time to post this up!


          I have long wanted to try my hand at making tamales -- thank you for the added incentive. I've got some free time this coming week so maybe I'll get this done. Our local Mexican grocery has masa harina on the shelves, but I think it's ground for tortillas. I'll ask to see if they have masa that's for tamales. If not, I'll try the tortilla version.

          If a restaurant has tamales on the menu (pretty rare, but sometimes I get lucky), that's what I'm going to order. I've had super fluffy tamales that all but float into my mouth and rather heavy ones that were still decent eating. There's a slightly sweet Belizean variation called dukanos (not sure of the spelling) made with fresh sweet corn kernels. All were tasty, although the fluffy ones were extra nice and really made my mouth happy.


          • Oak Smoke
            Oak Smoke commented
            Editing a comment
            I think you'll find the masa harina for corn tortillas is the same as is used in tamales. As long as it's a fine flour consistency it will be good.
            Last edited by Oak Smoke; December 23, 2019, 09:37 AM.

          Thanks for the recipe. Helped a friend make some tamales on Friday. My first time helping and I learned a lot. They have them on Christmas Eve for their family meal. A long time tradition for their family.


            Yes! Thank you for this!


              Thank you for the recipe. Have not made tamales in a long time, but you've rekindled my desire...… along with making sausage, dry aging a rib roast for 30 days and making lox.

              Happy Holidays


              • CaliforniaDad
                CaliforniaDad commented
                Editing a comment
                Do you cold smoke the lox? If so, do you mind sharing the full method/recipe?

              • TripleB
                TripleB commented
                Editing a comment
                CaliforniaDad - Sorry, but no. I have not yet ventured into cold smoking. And probably won’t. I just don’t have the right equipment to maintain a constant 85-90 d temp.

              Thanks for the recipe, another to add to a long list.


                Great write up! I think tamales are a wonderful use for pulled pork. And leftover brisket.


                  Thank you for the write up and recipe. I just realized after reading through it that I have never eaten a tamale, so this is going to definitely be tried out here, soon.


                    Here's a good video that shows how to make the masa and assemble the tamales:


                    • IowaGirl
                      IowaGirl commented
                      Editing a comment
                      This video is really helpful -- thank you for sharing it! Pati assembles the dough and filling slightly different than the other sources I'm seeing on the 'net. Her way makes a lot of sense and seems less fussy and fiddly to me.

                    • Mr. Bones
                      Mr. Bones commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Pati ROCKS!!! IowaGirl

                    Thanks to Oak Smoke's inspiration and enthusiasm, I made my first batch of 30 tamales today.

                    I had leftover roast turkey, so I prepared an impromptu filling of diced turkey, grated provolone cheese, diced fresh poblano and jalepeno chiles, store-bought Herdez chile verde sauce, sour cream, Hatch chile flakes, plus a little homemade smoked salt to taste. Kinda chopped and mixed, tasted and tweaked, until the flavor seemed right.

                    I stuck to the Serious Eats tamale dough recipe as closely as possible, but I also paid close attention to the helpful tips in Pati Jinich's video about testing the dough to make sure it's fluffy enough. I've eaten enough doughy, heavy tamales to know that's not what I want in a tamal.

                    I followed Pati's method for preparing, wrapping, and steaming the tamales. She didn't tie her corn husks, so neither did I. I had 3-4 bundles that fell apart in the steamer, but the scraps tasted just as good as the intact tamales.

                    I used corn husks I gleaned from my neighbor's corn field. I washed, rinsed, disinfected, and dried them several days ago, then I softened them up in hot water to use today. Even though I live in the land of corn, I appreciate now why people prefer to buy their tamale wrappers at the grocery.

                    If I'd had more husks, I probably could have made another 15-20 tamales from the dough and filling I had on hand. Instead, I used the extra filling and dough to make a tamale pie. The pie was good, but a little light on the filling, so next time I'd add more filling or use less dough.

                    The dough was beautifully fluffy and light -- that made me really happy. I might add more jalepeno to the filling next time for a little more kick, but all in all the tamales were really very tasty.

                    Pati Jinich video: See mnavarre's post above for the link.
                    S.E. tamale dough recipe: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...gh-recipe.html
                    S.E. tamale pie recipe: https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/01/...-de-tamal.html
                    Last edited by IowaGirl; December 28, 2019, 08:25 PM. Reason: spelling


                    • Oak Smoke
                      Oak Smoke commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm so glad you took the leap and made tamales. You're a true lady of the land, gathering your own husks! I'm spoiled, I buy mine.

                    • gcdmd
                      gcdmd commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Kudos to you for recognizing that the singular of tamales is tamal, NOT tamale.

                    • IowaGirl
                      IowaGirl commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I realize now after haunting Youtube that there are a bazillion ways to make tamales, but most of the ladies who are serious makers are all business. They don't fiddle around with ties and all that.

                      I think I'll buy the husks next time. They must grow special corn for tamale wrappers. The "leaves" are huge compared to what I'm finding in the field.

                      We have many Hispanic folks in our area, and I would like to know more Spanish. I do what I can to get what little I know right.

                    I hope everyone had a great Christmas celebration, and is looking forward to a good start on the New Year!

                    As a still-homesick Californian transplanted to the frozen Northeast, I always press my family intro service on Christmas Eve to make a big batch of tamales, although I have to confess that I've never thought of using pulled pork as a filling! Seems like an abuse of both perfectly good pulled pork and perfectly good tamales, but I will suspend my disbelief long enough to give it a try.

                    I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to tamale filling, so this year we made two batches, one stuffed with pork shoulder slow-braised in New Mexico red chile sauce (my own), the other with chicken braised in tomatillo-serrano sauce (also my own, but there I rely on Rick Bayless' recipe).

                    A couple of tamale tips I've learned over the years: skipping the tying and just folding the corn husks over at one end speeds up the process (and reduces the mess) enormously, and using lard -- especially if you can find the authentic Mexican product locally -- makes them taste way better than vegetable shortening. Sure, you might not want to eat that much lard daily, but tamales are supposed to be a celebration dish, and we all need to break training every once in a while.

                    While we were at it, we also whipped up a batch of empanadas, stuffed with beef short ribs that had also been slow-braised in the same New Mexico red chile sauce. We added some Mexican Queso Oaxaca cheese to the empanada filling, but that probably qualified as gilding the lily.
                    Attached Files


                    • barelfly
                      barelfly commented
                      Editing a comment
                      New Mexico Red Chile sauce! Love it! That’s how I would go about it as well. Carne Adovada basically. Thanks for sharing!


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