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  • Writer's pictureKirby

Beef Tamales

During the Holidays, my family make large batches of tamales. We try to have some on Christmas and New Year’s. We also make different versions of tamales to have a variety, beef, pork, chicken and one of my favorites Jalapeno and Cheese tamales. There are sweet ones also with pineapple and raisins. No matter which one you want, they are fantastic and this always reminds me of family memories.

Beef Tamales Recipe

This recipe yields 2 dozens of tamales


2 – 2 1/2 lbs Beef roast

1 onion

1 garlic

2 tbsp salt

Other ingredients for filling and assembly

24 Black olives

2 potatoes cut into slices (optional)

Slices of jalapenos (optional)

Green olives (optional)

Dried corn husks


4 cups Maseca Instant corn flour

3 cups beef broth

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Knorr’s Beef bouillon

1 1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 cup of salsa


4 California chili pods

4 guajillo chili pods

5 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups beef broth


The longest part of the cook is your meat. You want to add water, onion, garlic, meat and season with salt. Over medium heat, bring to temperature, slightly cover and cook for about 2 hours or until pull apart tender.

Corn Husks

Place the corn husks in a pot or sink, and add hot water and let them soak. You want to keep them in the water, because you want the corn husks to easy to work with. If they dry out, they will stiffen up.


In a small pot, add your chili pods, garlic cloves, bay leaves and fill with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the chili pods are pliable and the onion is translucent.

Add your cooked salsa ingredients into a blender, then add 1 ½ cup of the beef broth and blend.


Using the measurements in the ingredient list, add the corn flour, baking powder, beef bouillon, and salt and mix well.

Add the vegetable shortening into the corn flour mixture, and mix with your hands. It will take several minutes for the vegetable shortening to mix well. Once mixed well, the flour mixture will be crumbly and the masa will not stick to your hands as much.

Now add in beef broth and salsa a little at a time until you reach a soft play dough texture.

Do keep in mind, if you do the masa before hand it may dry out a bit. So add a little more broth into the masa to moisten it up.

Now remove the beef roast from the pot and shred. Add the remaining salsa into the beef and mix well. I like to season with a little salt in the pork salsa mixture to taste.


Now take your soaked corn husk and apply some masa on the smooth side of the corn husk. There is a noticeable difference to the sides of the corn husk. Add the beef mixture and black olives. Fold the tamale and fold the tail end on the seam side. Squeeze the tamale slightly to squish the masa to the filling ingredients.

Place in a steamer pot facing upwards with the bottom filled with water.

Over medium heat, bring the water to temperature. Then set a timer for 1 hour. Check one of the tamales to see if they are done. When the masa does not stick to the corn husk while opening, the tamales are done. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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