Tamales Recipe

This tamale recipe is a work of love and you need to plan on an afternoon of cooking time, then assembly and more cooking time. They are very delicious and worth the effort if you want to give them a try.


3 1/2 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of fat and cut up
10 cups water
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups red chili sauce
3/4 cup shortening, at room temperature
6 cups masa harina
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
50 dried corn husks ( about 8 inches long)
(Makes 50 tamales)


Using large heavy bottom pot or a 5 quart Dutch oven, bring the 10 cups of water, along with the pork, onion, garlic and salt to a boil.

Once it comes to a boil, turn it down and let it simmer for 2.5 hours, covered.

You will cook it until the meat is very tender.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the broth.

Allow the broth to cool.

Using 2 forks, shred the meat, and discard any fat that is on the meat while you are shredding it.

Strain the broth, and reserve 6 cups.

Using a large sauce pan, heat the red chili sauce and the meat, simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, using and electric mixer on medium speed, beat the shortening until soft for about one minute.

In another bowl, stir together the masa harina with the baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Note *Masa Harina is a traditional four used to make tamales and other Mexican dishes.

Mix the masa harina mixture and the reserved broth into the shortening mixture, adding a little of each at a time and beating in after each addition. Use only enough broth to make a thick creamy paste.

Soak the corn husks in a big pot of warm water for 20 minutes. Rinse to remove any corn silk that may be on the husks. The corn husks should be 8 inches long and 6 inches wide at the top. If your husks are too small, you will need to overlap 2 small to form one. If they are too large, tear a strip off of it.


Spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture onto the center of each corn husk.

Fold in the sides of the husk and fold up the bottom.

You need to make either a foil ball or a mound of extra husks in the center of a steam basket that fits onto the Dutch oven.

Lean the tamales onto the foil or mound of husks with the open side up.

Add water to the Dutch oven just below the basket.

Bring water to boil and reduce heat.

Cover and steam 40 minutes, adding water when necessary. Enjoy!

This is a large batch of tamales and you can freeze some of them for other meals. You just need to wrap each on individually in small freezer bags.

To reheat them, thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel and re-steam in a steamer until nice and hot.