Cook the Tamale Meat

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(II) Cook the Tamale Meat

Hot Tamale Ingredients | Cook Tamale Meat | Make Tamales

Tamale Meat Should Look Like This When Done

After taking your shopping list to the grocery store and buying the ingredients, the next important step is to cook the tamale meat.  Since I like to make big batches of tamales (double or triple recipes), I suggest cooking the meat on one day, and then making the tamales the next day.  This makes a nice weekend project.  Understand, though, that if you make a big batch you can freeze them and then enjoy them all winter. This page will take you step by step through the process of preparing and cooking the meat.

Tamale Meat Ingredients:

1 pork roast (6-8 pounds)
1 large chicken (5 pounds)
Garlic powder (large bottle)
Chili Powder (We use Gibhardts but any will do)
Cumino (Cumin)
Corn Oil

The tamale meat is made from a combination of Pork Roast and Chicken.  Below we show you how to prepare this combination.

Cook and Shred Pork Roast:

Start with 1 pork roast. Cut the roast into fist size chunks. Put the chunks into a Pan, and cover with water. Boil for about 2 1/2 hours or until it becomes really tender. After the meat is really tender, take it out of the broth to cool (Save the Broth, you will need it for the Masa!)

After the roast chunks are cool enough to handle easily, shred them with your fingers.  Try to remove and discard the fat as you go.  There is no need to throw a lot of fat into the tamales.  If you have cooked the roast chunks thoroughly, it will be easy to shred into small pieces with your fingers.

Cook and Shred Chicken:

Cover the chicken with water in a large pot, and boil for 2 hours, or until the chicken is done and tender. Take the chicken out of the broth and allow the chicken to cool. (Save the Chicken Broth as well!) Remove and discard the skin. Take the chicken meat off the bones and  shred the it into very small filaments.  Discard any large chunks of fat.

Combine Pork and Chicken:

Combine both meats in very large pan, and mix together. Make sure that the meats are thoroughly combined and mixed well. You are now ready to add the seasoning:

Add the Spices and Seasonings:

Mix the oil and seasonings listed below in a small pan and warm on the stove. Do not cook the oil and seasonings mix, but just gently warm on the stove.

When the oil and seasonings mix is warm, then pour over the meat and mix with your hands until it is completely distributed through the meat. It takes a good 10 minutes to get the mixture completely uniform.

Spices and Seasonings:

1/2 c corn oil
6 Tablespoon Gibhartds chili powder (Other Chile Powders will work)
3 Tablespoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoon ground cumin (comino)
1 Tablespoon (or less) black pepper
2 Tablespoon salt.

The meat is now finished.  You should put the meat in the refrigerator covered until ready to make the tamales. Put both the chicken broth and roast broth into the refrigerator as well. You will need the broth when you make the Masa. 

Next up: Make Tamales

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This site is dedicated to the Loving Memory of Goya Pina, who taught me how to cook tamales, and many other delicious Mexican Food dishes.  She died in 1998 at the age of 78.

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