Pork tamales from our friend Sylvia Gonzales. These are authentic and amazing!

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Recipe Summary

prep:
1 hr
cook:
4 hrs 45 mins
additional:
1 hr
total:
6 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
36
Yield:
36 servings
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Ingredients

36
Original recipe yields 36 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place pork butt, onion, 5 cloves garlic, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot; cover with water. Simmer mixture over medium heat until pork is very tender, about 3 hours. Discard onion and garlic. Strain and shred meat, reserving liquid.

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  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir California chile pods and New Mexico chile pods in the hot skillet until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse chile pods. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add chile pods; boil until chile pods are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool chile pods.

  • Blend 1 cup pork broth, 1 cup water, chile pods, 1 tablespoon salt, 3 cloves garlic, and cumin together in a blender until smooth. Stir pork meat and chile sauce together in a bowl.

  • Melt 1/2 cup lard in a large pot over medium heat. Stir flour into melted lard until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir pork-chile sauce mixture into flour mixture, adding more salt if needed.

  • Remove silk and debris from corn husks and soak in boiling water, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and place on a work surface; cover with a clean, damp towel.

  • Mix masa, 1 pound lard, 1 cup reserved pork broth, baking powder, and salt in a large pan until mixture is fluffy and holds together.

  • Select 1 wide corn husk or 2 small ones. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto corn husk, spreading to the sides and about 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons pork mixture down the center of masa mixture. Fold sides of husk together, 1 over the other. Fold the bottom of husk over seam of 2 folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks and filling.

  • Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add tamales and cook until filling is heated through and set, 1 to 2 hours. Let tamales rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note:

For hotter chile sauce, you can add 1 small package of hot New Mexico chili powder.

Nutrition Facts

436 calories; protein 10.3g 21% DV; carbohydrates 52g 17% DV; fat 21.6g 33% DV; cholesterol 29.6mg 10% DV; sodium 449.2mg 18% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/24/2014
These really are authentic tamales! There are a couple of problems with the way the recipe is written but nothing that couldn't be easily figured out. Reserve all the broth from the pork - you are going to need one cup for the masa and at least one cup for your chili sauce (I used 2 cups broth instead of 1 cup broth 1 cup water) When steaming I stand them on end folded side down you want to gently steam them and keep an eye on the water level so your pan doesn't run out of water. Tamales freeze well and I have a few set aside for New Years morning. Thanks for a truly authentic recipe. Read More
(36)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
04/17/2015
it came out crumbly. Read More
(3)
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
04/24/2014
These really are authentic tamales! There are a couple of problems with the way the recipe is written but nothing that couldn't be easily figured out. Reserve all the broth from the pork - you are going to need one cup for the masa and at least one cup for your chili sauce (I used 2 cups broth instead of 1 cup broth 1 cup water) When steaming I stand them on end folded side down you want to gently steam them and keep an eye on the water level so your pan doesn't run out of water. Tamales freeze well and I have a few set aside for New Years morning. Thanks for a truly authentic recipe. Read More
(36)
Rating: 1 stars
04/17/2015
it came out crumbly. Read More
(3)
Rating: 3 stars
12/13/2017
The masa recipe has a lot of issues. Adding 2 cus of broth is not nearly enough. All in all I probably added 6 cups of broth and them some hot water to thin it out just before spreading. The meat is good. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 4 stars
05/08/2018
I adjusted portions: 7# pork shoulder roast (doubled onion and garlic) Reduced the broth to 5-6 qts 12 oz dried chili s (quadruped broth water salt garlic cumin) Instead of water for the chili sauce I used the water in which they were boiled reduced to 1 qt. 1 gallon of broth for Mesa (this must have been a typo in the original recipe) I like my Mesa thin so it doesn t over shadow the filling and prefer it moist rather than dry. I also wanted some extra chili sauce to serve with the tamales as well as use some to prepare the side dish of rice and a little in the guacamole and a salsa base. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
09/22/2019
Great recipe! I used Ancho chilies for a different flavor. Spot on! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
07/13/2017
The pork filling is tasty. The masa however is dryer than dry even after adding an extra cup of pork broth to the recipe and 3-hours of steaming. Maybe they're authentic but they're not very amazing. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
07/23/2020
I've made these a few times now, they are closest to My Mother's tamales. I love the sauce and I love the Masa blend. Thank you Sylvia. P.S. I made them by myself, not like when I was a child - we had an assembly line, but that was with 50 lbs of Meat and Masa. Read More
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