Recipe Source: Maria E. Salazar
Required Time: 2 days

Ingredients (using 6 pounds of meat makes about 10 dozen tamales and will take over a large American freezer, so feel free to cut this recipe in half or more, but don’t decrease onions or garlic)

*3 pounds’ pork roast

*3 pounds’ beef roast

*2 large onions

*4 cloves garlic

*1/3 to ½ cup chili powder or more (depends on heat of chili powder and spice tolerance of tamal eaters)




*8 cups masa harina

*2 cups shortening or lard

*Corn husks (2-3 packages for full recipe)

 Pork and/ or Beef Tamales

  1. Cook meat (pork or beef, or both in separate pots) in a large pot of water (or in a slow- cooker filled with water) with an onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for the day, 4 hours minimum. The more broth you can generate from the meat, the better!

  2. After the meat is cooked (so that it falls apart and shreds easily), remove from pot, set aside to cool, and puree the onion and garlic with the broth. Season broth mixture to taste with chili powder and salt.

  3. Shred meat finely with two forks (you can even chop it after shredding), and store covered in refrigerator separately from broth.

  4. Soak corn husks in water overnight.

  5. Rinse and clean corn husks thoroughly. Drain well and pat dry.

  6. Season shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin (optional) to taste. As you season the meat, add a small amount of broth to moisten meat, but it should not be runny.

  7. For every 2 cups of masa harina (meal), add 1/2 cup of shortening or lard, 1tsp. of salt, and enough chili powder to make a pink dough. Add broth mixture a little at a time to masa and mix with your hands to get a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water, but you will wish you had plenty of broth. (If you use about 6 pounds of meat, you will likely use about 8 cups of masa harina in total).

  8. Assemble the tamales: spread masa about 1/8-inch-thick on corn husk with fingers, leaving about ½ inch border along the sides and 2-inch border along the top and bottom of husk. Use about 2 Tbsp. of shredded meat to fill the tamal (like a cigar). Fold sides until they just overlap, fold narrow end under, and place tamal folded side down. Tear thin strips of the corn husks to tie a “little belt” around each tamal to keep it secure. Although this isn’t necessary, it does look the nicest and makes each tamal a little gift to be opened.

  9. To cook, steam fresh tamales for 15 minutes or until masa is no longer sticky.

  10. Store in freezer. Steam frozen tamales for 20 minutes. (This is a real treat a few days or a few weeks later.

Copyright Nicole Stich