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Mexican Pork Tamales Rojos Recipe

Tamales are a popular dish in many Hispanic households around Christmas time.  They can be a lot of work, especially if making a larger batch, so often the whole family would get involved in the cooking process.

I’ve had store bought tamales, but I didn’t like them nearly as much as these I made fresh.  My son liked the tamales because they’re flavorful, and he could pick up the whole thing to take a bite of it.  

Of course, it can crumble apart, so I recommend putting your kids in a high chair.  (I always learn this lesson the hard way.)

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The whole process is rather time consuming.  You can save time by cooking the pork a day ahead of time.  

You could also set the slow cooker in the morning before you go to work and have pork ready to shred by the time you get home.  

I made extra pork and we served it with yellow rice.  The chili sauce makes it really flavorful.

My homemade salsa recipe is also a great addition to the Mexican dish.

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Authentic Mexican pork tamales recipe
Pork tamales on a board with salsa and cilantro

Pork Tamales

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 20 minutes


Tamale Filling

  • 1 1/2 lb pork loin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 4 dried New Mexico chilies
  • 3 c water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Tamale Dough

  • 2 c Masa Harina, corn flour used to make tortillas
  • ~1/4 c beef broth
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c lard
  • 1/4 package dried corn husks
  • Sour cream for serving


  1. Season pork with salt and pepper. Place the pork in the crock pot with the onion and garlic. Put water in the crock pot so it comes about half way up the pork.
  2. Simmer on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove the pork from the cooking liquid. Shred the pork and set aside.
  4. Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies.
  5. Place in a small sauce pan with water and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  6. Pour chilies and water into the blender with salt and puree until smooth.
  7. Mix 1 cup of chili sauce into the shredded pork. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
  8. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water to soften.
  9. In a large bowl, beat the lard with the beef broth until fluffy.
  10. In a separate bowl, combine the mesa harina, baking powder and salt.
  11. Mix into the lard until well combined. Add more broth if necessary to get the dough to stick together.
  12. Lay out a moistened corn husk and spoon about 2 Tbsp of dough into the center.
  13. Press out the dough to the sides of the corn husk until it is about 1/4" thick. The dough should go to the sides of the corn husk, but leave about an inch of space between the dough and tops and bottoms of the corn husk.
  14. Place about 1 Tbsp of shredded pork in the center of the dough.
  15. Roll up the tamale by first rolling the sides of the corn husk to the center. Then fold the tops and bottom of the corn husk back. Do not pull on the corn husk too much as this will cause it to rip. If you do rip a whole in the husk, wrap with a second husk.
  16. Repeat the process until you use up all of the dough and/or filling.
  17. Place the tamales in the top of a steamer pan. Steam for 1 hour.
  18. To serve, unroll the tamales from the corn husks and serve hot with sour cream and chili sauce.
Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1 Servings
Amount Per ServingCalories 513Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 85mgSodium 868mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 27g

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