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These are time consuming but well worth it. Plan on spending a better part of a day making them. This is a very authentic recipe. Authentic Mexican food is very flavorful, but not hot.


  • 4 pounds boneless chuck roast
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages dried corn husks
  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups lard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 9 cups masa harina


  • Place beef and garlic in a large pot.
  • Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot.
  • Let simmer for 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender and shreds easily.
  • When beef is done, remove from pot, reserving 5 cups cooking liquid and discarding garlic.
  • Allow meat to cool slightly, and shred finely with forks.
  • Meanwhile, place corn husks in a large container and cover with warm water.
  • Allow to soak for 3 hours, until soft and pliable. May need to weight down with an inverted plate and a heavy can.
  • Toast ancho chiles in a cast iron skillet, making sure not to burn them.
  • Allow to cool and then remove stems and seeds. Crumble and grind in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet.
  • Mix in flour and allow to brown slightly.
  • Pour in 1 cup beef broth and stir until smooth. Mix in ground chiles, cumin seeds, ground cumin, minced garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar and salt.
  • Stir shredded beef into skillet and cover.
  • Let simmer 45 minutes.
  • Place lard and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whip with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.
  • Add masa harina and beat at low speed until well mixed.
  • Pour in reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until mixture is the consistency of soft cookie dough.
  • Drain water from corn husks.
  • One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread approximately 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk.
  • Spread about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle of the masa.
  • Roll up the corn husk starting at one of the long sides.
  • Fold the narrow end of the husk onto the rolled tamale and tie with a piece of butchers' twine.
  • Place tamales in a steamer basket.
  • Steam over boiling water for approximately one hour, until masa is firm and holds its shape.
  • Make sure steamer does not run out of water.
  • Serve immediately, allowing each person to unwrap their own tamales.
  • Allow any leftovers (still in husks) to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

Categories: Beef  Main Dish  Mexican  Spicy  Steamer  Stove 
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