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Often made for Christmas celebrations, the preparation of tamales is sometimes shared at a social event called a tamalada.

For the Pork

4 pounds pork butt

8 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon salt

For Chile Sauce

10 medium ancho chiles

5 guajillo chiles

4 cloves of garlic

½ tablespoon cumin

5 cups water

5 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons salt

For the Masa Dough

3 pounds fresh coarse-grind corn masa

1¼ cups lard, melted

¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon kosher salt

You Will Also Need

50 corn husks

Chile Sauce

Remove stems and seeds from chile pods. Place in a colander and rinse. Add the chiles to a large pot and add enough water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain cooked chiles and allow to cool before blending.

Transfer cooked chiles, water, cumin, flour, salt and pepper into blender and purée until smooth working in batches. If necessary, season with more salt.


Cut the pork into 3 inch chunks. Transfer to large pot. Cover with 12 cups of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook at a simmer for 2‑3 hours, or until pork becomes tender.

Once the pork is cooked, remove from the broth and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the pork. Heat 3 tablespoons of lard to medium heat in a large pot. Add the chile sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Add in all of the pork and 2 cups of remaining pork broth. Cook at a low simmer for 1 hour or until the broth reduces. Taste for salt. Let mixture cool before filling tamales.


Mix masa, lard, broth, and salt in a large bowl with your hands until well incorporated and mixture looks shiny and smooth, about 4 minutes.

Tamale Assembly

Soak husks in a large bowl of hot water until soft and pliable, about 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, and shake off excess water.