TAMALE Tuesday! Pork Carnitas Tamales

Screw Taco Tuesday, it's TAMALE Tuesday in our house!  I don't think it is any secret that we are huge Mexican food fans in our house.  Every Christmas Eve my mom would go get these delicious tamales from a little old Mexican lady who made them in her kitchen and I have never found any tamales in my life that have even come close to the flavor that those had.

I have always heard about how much work making tamales requires and yes, these are no weeknight dinner but they are SO worth it!  It makes a giant batch and then you can freeze them and have authentic and delicious tamales whenever you want.  That is if they even last that long!  Now I have only tried making carnitas tamales but next time I am thinking some spicy shredded beef ones are in order.

{ What you Need }

8 cups Masa
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons cumin
5 1/3 cups chicken broth
3 2/3 cups lard or vegetable shortening
corn husks

{ What to do }

Prepare your pork carnitas the day before and refrigerate overnight, this way it will be cold and easier to work with when assembling your tamales.  

First make your masa.  Before starting this, set your corn husks in a bowl of water to soak.  Then in a large bowl mix masa, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin.  Whisk to make sure it is all combined.  Then add your chicken broth and using your hands mix it all together until it is well combined and the masa is no longer dry.  In a second bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the lard until it is fluffy.  Add the fluffy mixed lard to the masa and using your hands again, mix until it is all incorporated.  

Drain your corn husks and shake the excess water off.  Create a little assembly line and lay a corn husk down and spread some masa on it.  Then add your carnitas, and then wrap it all up in the corn husk.  I am warning you, there is definitely a learning curve here!  There was some trial and error that had to happen before we got the hand of the whole wrapping them up situation.  The corn husks only need to be tucked in on one end because they will be steamed standing up.

When they are all assembled and ready to be steamed, fill the bottom of a large (I mean LARGE) tamale steaming pot (they're pretty cheap at target and totally worth it if you're making tamales) with water and bring to a boil.  Turn it down to simmer and stand all your tamales up in it.  I added a pipe to make it easier to add water in throughout the process.  Cover and steam.  The time required will depend on how full your pot is of tamales.  Ours was stuffed to the brim (as you can see in the picture) and took about 3 hours.  You will know they are done when you touch the top of one of them and it is firm and no longer doughy.  Make sure you check them periodically to add in more water throughout the cooking time.

Let the sit and cool for a few minutes before diving in and eating them all up!

*When reheating, wrap in a wet paper towel and microwave or if you are heating up a large amount, re-steam on the stove top until hot.


  1. I am usually not much into that pork thing but my friends like it a lot and every time they gather they have a recipe to eat. I will suggest this to them to try sometime.

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