Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print

Pork Butts

15 years ago

on sale this week in my area as a loss leader at 99 cents per I bought a big one and today I made 5 dozen tamales. They are wonderful...maybe the best I ever made. I usually make them in huge numbers for the freezer but with the chemo I just dont have the stamina to do that many but what I did make might just be the best I ever made....and you wanna know why....

Because they had peppers grown in my own garden ....Ain't I loving it...

Comments (18)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Good for you, RuthieG. Those home-grown produce items really make all the difference, don't they?

    Happy holidays. God bless.

    SE Michigan

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    About tamales - how do you make the dough? Did you add any flavorings to it? I can purchase the dough already made up, but would like to make from scratch.

    Sounds like you lucked out on that pork. I find it once in awhile at a bargain, and make Italian sausage in my own little home grinder with plenty of fennel and fresh garlic. My family especially likes the leaner sausage, and it sure beats that expensive stuff in the store.


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bejay I buy a package of masa (finely ground corn meal) at the store and usually follow the directions on the package. but Here is the recipe I used yesterday. /a lot of people use something other than lard these days but once per year I figure isn't going to kill me and I like doing it the traditional way. The truth is you can put about any kind of spice you want into it and some do put a little chili powder but again, I stick to traditional.

    2 cups Masa
    2/3 C Lard
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 C broth or water (warm)
    1 tsp baking powder...


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    and here they are steaming or part of them...I only made about 5 dozen this year.


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The broth issue is sort of like making bread, you use enough to get it to the consistency that you like or want. I make mine to about like a sticky dough. I have never used the premade but a friend of mine does and she said she sometimes has to add a little liquid ...

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great price on pork butt at 99 cents a pound. Looks like you really dod good for making tamales. After my hospital stay had had no taste for foods or appetite. It came back very slowly and right now, I am getting my sense of taste back a little. I know that the salt brine half sour dill pickles I made this past summer were slightly too salty, which can be easily fixed my removing some of the brine and adding a little water.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ruthie - they look great! I notice that you leave the tops uncovered. Do you put a cover over the pot, a towel - or?

    Otherwise, I wonder how they keep from either drying out or if covered, becoming too soggy. I like the idea of not having to fully wrap them - easier to open.

    I made enchiladas today - with the left-over turkey and some of my home-made canned pinto beans. I think I like the left over turkey for such things, rather than the original turkey dinner itself?

    Stay warm! We are having "unseasonable" cold/wet weather here, but at least the dormant fruit trees should be happy.


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bj...I put extra pieces of the corn husks on top...I took them off just for the picture...I make/cook them with the tops open as that's the way that I learned to do it. I cover the pot with a lid and it is like a steam bath and they don't dry out at all...very moist.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    2+ feet of snow last week. This weekend temps in the 60's!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think I can get corn husks here now, unless I go out in the fields and try to rehydrate.
    Tamales sound good for NY day party, I like to switch to Mexican, Cuban and Carribean flares after all the traditional servings of Thanksgiving and Xmas cookies.
    We will have pork next week, organic at that, neighbor is butchering. The last pig was awesome so tender, glad I ordered a 1/2 a pig off him for myself. I don't know what price per lb but my 1/2 a pig is 40.00 and get to select the cuts and make sausage.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I soak mine over night in a pot of warm water....but this is the time of year that people make tamales. Do you have any ethnic markets around?

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ethnic markets around here? well, there is a pseudo "asian/Indian" one that opened up, that's it. I can get dried lentils, beans and rice he gets in.

    I end up like the rest of us around here, make trips to either NYC or Philadelphia for specific shops.
    Tuesday we are heading to NYC for a spree I was just planning out the mapping from Zabars, spice shops on 28th street, then onto Mott and Mulberry streets at Canal, trying to remember the cross street for a Thai grocery store so I can pick up a case of chili sauce..on the way out of the Lincoln Tunnel, Espisedos butcher shop.

    And, of course the knock off designer bags my kid wants.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well I am sure you can order them online...probably have to search for a good price though...also you can use parchment paper. They even make a tamale wrapper substitute. I have used parchment before but and it works well but...I think the husks imparts some flavor to the tamale.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ruthieg, you really done good. I have never made tamales but my mother used to make them every winter. She used tamale papers which are available in this area at the grocery store. How did you cook the pork and what seasonings did you use in the meat mixture? Also, did you not tie them and if not how did the corn husk not come undone after you rolled them? Probably eleementary questions, but that's about my mentality.

    For someone with not much stamina you sure did a lot. Best of luck with your chemo and recovery.


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How did you cook the pork and what seasonings did you use in the meat mixture?

    There are lots of recipes out there and I have sort of combined them and do my own but first I put the pork butt into a big pot of water. It will cook quicker and more thoroughly if you cut it into pieces...they don't have to be real small just big pieces. In the pot I toss a chopped onion, some garlic and some cumin and a little chili powder, salt and pepper...Cook until tender and then I cool and shred the meat and remove all the fat. A lot of people like the fat but not me...I take out as much as I possibly can...after it is shredded, I pulse it in my food processor and then I taste the seasoning and adjust it to what I want it to taste like...usually add oregano, salt,pepper,onion garlic, lots of cumin and chili powder ...You can also just buy a package of tamale seasoning in my area...It's very good just not hot enough...we like ours spicy....Ok then I brown the meat, usually I have to do this in batches and then I make a little roux with some fat and flour and then I thin it like gravy with some of the broth from when I boiled it..just so that it is nice and moist but you want it to be mostly meat and not soupy or wet...not gravy...that's the meat..I make my tamales in stages even when I am not sick and this is the first stage. I store it in the fridge till I am ready to put them together.

    Also, did you not tie them and if not how did the corn husk not come undone after you rolled them?
    Well I have never seen a real tamale tied...I think that comes from the food network and all the fancy chefs ...truthfully I just roll them up and stack them like you see in the bowl and they stay tight...I just use a big pasta pot to steam because that is all I have but the big tamale pots are not expensive and every year I say I am going to buy one and never do ...You can use your water bath canner to steam them as long as you can raise them up above the boiling water...If the pot isn't full of tamales, then I wad up enough aluminum foil to hold the tamales up straight. One year I made so many I used my big nesco roaster to steam them. I steam mine for about 90 minutes but it really depends on the thickness of your masa...I make mine about 1/8 inch thick but many people put 1/2 in theirs...

    Here are the two recipes that I have used and that a friend shared with me and some notes as well...I never use beef but they are very good. You can also buy/make chicken tamales in my area and they are wonderful as well but I just love pork. I use lard because that is traditional but you can use oil or a lot of people use very little fat and mostly broth for the tamale dough...

    8-pound Boston butt pork roast
    10-12 garlic cloves
    1 1/2 cups chili powder
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

    Cut pork roast into chunks and boil with salt in water until done (approximately 1 1/2 hours). Reserve broth. Grind pork and garlic cloves into large pan. Add chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and "massage" into meat until color is even.

    Masa dough:
    4 cups instant masa harina
    3 cups pork broth
    2 cups warm water
    1/2 cup chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Mix all ingredients in bowl until smooth.

    3 or 4 packages corn husks

    Soak husks overnight (at least 3 hours) in warm water. Separate and clean.

    To make tamales, spread a generous amount of masa mixture in center of husk, but toward one end. Use the back of a spoon to spread. It doesn't have to be even or "pretty"-it evens out pretty well while cooking.Put about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture along the center of the masa.

    To roll, pull the side edges of the husk together and fold just above the tamale and wrap. Fold the "tail" up. Place rolled tamales in pot with steamer grate in bottom. Open end should be up. (Laying the pot on its side to fill makes it pretty easy and pot should be at least 8 inches deep).

    Fill pot until fairly full so that when upright, tamales do not shift. If you don't have enough to fill the pot, use crumpled aluminum foil to hold tamales upright. Carefully fill pot to about 1 inch below top of tamales with remaining pork broth and warm water.

    Cover and cook on high until bubbling. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the husks peel away from the husk easily. The recipe said 45 minutes but that hasn't ever been enough for mine.

    2 pounds lean, boneless beef, pork, chicken or venison
    3 tablespoons cooking oil
    1/4 cup flour
    1 1/2 cups water
    2 beef bouillon cubes
    1/2 cup canned green chilies, chopped
    4 large cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    2-3 tablespoons ground chili pepper
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1/4 cup tomato sauce
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    In a saucepan, cook meat in water until tender. Grind meat; brown in hot oil. Sprinkle flour over beef while stirring. Dissolve bouillon cubes in water and add to beef. Add remaining ingredients in order listed. Cover and simmer 45 minutes.

    Masa dough:
    1 1/2 cups lard
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    4 1/2 cups masa harina
    2 2/3 cups warm water....I use broth....makes them richer

    In a large mixer bowl, beat the lard and salt until fluffy. Mix together masa harina and water and add to lard mixture, beating well until the ingredients are combined.

    To assemble tamales:
    To soften corn husks, soak them in warm water for several hours. Place 1/4 cup tamale dough in center of each husk and spread it into a rectangle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the meat filling down the center of the dough. Lift the sides of the dough to the center and press dough edges with fingers to seal, then finish by putting the edges of the husk together and folding around the masa, folding up the "tail" at the end. Cover and steam tamales over medium heat for 1 1/2 hours. Yield: 6 dozen.

    One more thing....the masa recipe for the first recipe makes a much lighter masa filling than the second one in texture as I really like that texture for the masa the best....I buy masa at Wal-Mart and truthfully I use the recipe on the bag for my masa dough...

    These are notes from a friend of mine regarding making tamales

    Making tamales is not difficult but it does take a little time. The meat and chili filling should be made the day before you assemble them. For assembly it is best to have at least two people. This recipe can be halved. If you dont plan to freeze them you can also eliminate the parchment paper wrap. I never did this until the past few years. It does make a difference in storage. I have used this to teach with and it is very similar to what I was taught as a kid. Because we make so many I have found it very convenient to use my large electric roaster.

    5 pound pork butt
    5 pound beef blade
    4-6 cloves garlic
    2 large onions, chopped
    2 tsp. cumin
    2 tsp. Salt
    4 oz. Hot dried New Mexico chiles or c. ground or to taste
    4 oz. Mild dried New Mexico chiles or c ground or to taste
    4 T. oil
    4 T. flour
    2 cloves garlic, pressed
    1 tsp. ground cumin, or to taste
    1 tsp. Salt

    Place meat in separate pots to cook. Cover with water, skimming foam from the surface as it cooks. Add half the onion, garlic, cumin and salt to each pot. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender 2 to 3 hours. Drain and save broth. When cool shred meat with fingers or a fork. Mix pork and beef together.

    Red chile
    Wearing rubber gloves remove stems and seeds from the chiles. Rinse, put in pan and cover with water.
    Bring to a boil and simmer until soft about 20 minutes. Remove chiles from pan and reserve water. Using tongs, place 1/3 of chiles in a blender add one cup of the chile water and puree. Put through a colander or sieve pressing until all bits of peel are removed. Process the rest of the chiles in the same manner.
    In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the 4 T. flour. Stir over medium heat until browned. Do not scorch the mixture. Add the puree, pressed garlic, cumin and salt and simmer for five minutes. The puree will be very thick. Add the remainder of chile water or broth until the consistency of tomato sauce.
    Combine shredded meat with red chile and refrigerate overnight.

    Next day

    10 pounds of wet masa
    2 pounds of lard
    1 or 2 packages of dry cornhusks
    1 jar of green or black olives, optional
    1 can sliced jalapeno, optional
    raisins, optional

    If wet masa is not available in your area you will need a large bag of dry Masa Harina and follow the directions on the package.
    Put the cornhusks in hot water. Remove silk or debris. Let soak for one hour. Shake water from husks and dry on paper towels.

    Using a mixer, whip lard in a mixing bowl until it is light and fluffy. Remove from bowl and divide into thirds. Divide masa into thirds. Using the mixer blend 1/3 of masa and 1/3/ of lard at a time. After all three batches are mixed put it in a large bowl and using your hands mix well. Slowly add small amounts of warmed reserved broth until you reach an easily spreadable consistency. Add a little salt if needed.

    Hold the corn hush in the palm of your hand pointed end toward you. Spread about two tablespoons of masa on the top part of the husk, leaving about a one-inch border all around. Put two tablespoons of the meat mixture on the top of the masa. If desired top meat with an olive, a couple of raisins and a strip of jalapeno. Bring up both sides of the husk, press them together and then fold over the top to make an envelope. At this point you can leave your packets as they are or place in parchment paper and fold into another envelope covering the whole tamale. Tamales can then be frozen on a flat cookie sheet then placed in ziplock bags for storage.
    It may be necessary to overlap cornhusks to be large enough to fold.

    Steaming tamales
    Stand tamales on end on a rack over water in a large pot. Cover with additional corn husks. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat cover and steam at least two hours or until the masa pulls away from the husk easily. If the tamales are cooked fresh not frozen they should cook in one hour.

    You can see that the recipes are basically the same and there are many others out there as well but keeping it simple is good for me....I'm 70 and even in good health don't have the stamina I used to have. They are fun to make and fun to eat. I love having them in the freezer...I use them in Tex Mex casseroles, when we have chili I put a couple in a bowl and add the chili ...I just run them under the faucet to wet them, wrap in a paper towel and nuke them and they taste like I just made them.

    This morning I made them for breakfast, nuked 3 each, covered with warm chili gravy and cheese and for my husbands I topped with two over easy eggs and more chili gravy....He was groaning with pleasure cause he said it was so good.<?B>

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I guess I should add in regard to the wrapping....Look at the picture of the tamale in progress and you will see that one end of it doesn't have any dough on after you roll the tamale up, you fold that end back up on the tamale and that end goes into the steamer first...the folded end down, the open end up....Putting them together is easy and I just sit at the table and watch tv while I do it. A nice afternoon....LOL

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you so much! Interesting you should mention the tying probably came from TV food shows. My mother has been dead almost 20 years(before TV food shows) and she always rolled hers, tied both ends and then the middle. She strayed from her early recipe as she got older and I liked her early ones better. I just looked in my recipe box and found the recipe she was using last, along with a diagram I had drawn showing the placement of the "dough" as well as the meat filling. Living in E. Tennessee she knew nothing about masa so she used self-rising corn meal. She was from the old school where you use what you have.

    I thought you might enjoy seeing her recipe.

    2 lbs. ground beef
    1 lb hot pork sausage
    2 heapened T. chili powder
    2 large onions chopped
    1 can crushed tomatoes

    Brown beef, sausage, and onions together. Salt (no amt. given). then add chili powder and tomatoes. Cook, then drain, saving liquid. Add more chili powder if needed. Use liquid to mix with self rising cornmeal. Again no amount given. Pat out meal mixture, (2 heapened T.),add 2 heapened T. of meat mixture, roll and tie.

    Note: Mix meal mixture in batches, add more water if needed for right consistency. It should be moist enough to pat out smoothly but not too soft. I know she put them in a large pot and cooked them but I have no idea how long. I vaguely remember asking her to measure the ingredients so I could write them down. Obviously she was fond of heapened tablespoonsfuls.LOL

    I confess I have never tried to make them...but I have thought about it a lot, does that count for anything?

    Isn't it interesting how food recipes vary from one part of the country to the other. I wonder how she even heard of tamales, living in rural E. TN.

    Thanks for letting me share Mom's Hot Tamale recipe.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing her recipe, really it is not all that different...I don't recall my mother ever making them. I love tamales....I buy them all the time when we run out but the truth is, I even like the canned ones. They are really a whole different thing...really soft and mushy but I love them.

Capri Home Renovations
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars33 Reviews
Reputable Home Renovation Company Serving Northern Virginia