I’m a firm believer that a home-cooked meal shared with family and friends, is one of life’s greatest blessings. It brings people together, helps us reconnect with one another, and turns an ordinary fact of life—eating—into something worth celebrating. Any home cooked meal can do this, and each cultural tradition has their own way. Mine is through tamales.
Every year, my family gets together to have a “tomalada” or as we call it “Tamale Day.” We have been making tamales on the first Saturday in December for over 30 years. Some years are harder to get together than others, but we all have Tamale Day on our mind that first weekend whether we are able to make it or not.
Curious to know more about Tamale Day? Check out my new ebook “How to Throw your Own Tamale Day party,” an ebook that includes both party planning steps and recipes for making tamales and the side dishes that go with them.
It is one of the things that has kept us connected all these years.
The red sauce is the key. My red sauce recipe has been handed down to me from my mother, who got it from her mother. It is the perfect combination of spice and flavor. It can be thickened, to be a gravy, and thinned out to mix in with the pork, to make the pork filling for the tamales. It makes our tamales fantastic, and according to the friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and soccer coaches that have received them over the years, they think so, too.
Tamales are typically made in large batches. When we throw our Tamale Day party, we make about 40 dozen! It sounds like a lot, but when you’re with family and friends, catching up on each other’s lives and enjoying each other’s company, it goes by quickly.
One of the easiest parts of the tamale to make is the pork filling for the tamales. The recipe is include below, and is really for a small batch that you may cook at home for yourself.
- 13 lbs boneless, pork but shoulder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp granulated or powdered garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Remove any fat from the meat and put in a 10-gallon stock pot.
- Add water to cover and then spices
- Cooke over medium heat, adjusting temperature to maintain a simmer, for about 2-3 hours.
- When done, remove from stock pot, placing in a large platter or foil pan, and shred by hand. Remove any fat.
- Mix with red sauce and use for filling up the corn husks that are prepared with the masa.
Spoken from experience, it’s more fun to make a large batch for Tamale Day!
For extensive instructions on how to make the tamales, from creating the red sauce, to making the tamales, steaming, and storing, check out my new ebook “How to Throw your Own Tamale Day party,” an ebook that includes both party planning steps and recipes for making tamales and the side dishes that go with them.