Barbacoa Beef Tamales

Happy Cinco de Mayo all. Lets try to celebrate with something a little more authentic than queso and chips, but just as tasty. These tamales are absolutely fantastic. Tamales are always a lot of work, so it's best to make them 30 or 40 at a time. They freeze really well and reheat in 2 minutes in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel.

The filling of these tamales can be any juicy braised meat. I used a barbacoa braised beef in the style of everyone's favorite e coli inducing restaurant chain. It's great to make this beef one night, have it for tacos or burritos and then make the leftovers into tamales. I'm normally not a fan of Mexican style tamales because they tend to be dry (I enjoy El Salvadorian style tamales much more...I will post a recipe for that at a later time). I used the Rick Bayless recipe for tamal dough and it is wonderful.

Crockpot Barbacoa Beef Recipe
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped small.
  • 1 Tbsp of the adobo sauce
  1. Sear the meat on all sides in a large pan with a little oil and set aide.
  2. Transfer all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with forks, mix with sauce and serve. 
  • 3 1/2 cups masa flour
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups meat filling
  • corn husks (at least 30 that are 6 inches wide. double up if they are smaller)
Directions for Tamal Dough
  1. Soak corn husks in hot water for at least half an hour until soft and pliable.
  2. Reconstitute masa flour with water. In a large bowl, mix shortening with salt and slowly add the reconstituted masa while mixing. 
  3. Add one cup of broth while mixing and continue to mix until it's light and fluffy. If you drop a dollop of dough in water it should float.
  4. Add more broth as necessary until mixture is the texture of light cake batter (but not runny). Refrigerate for one hour and re-beat again until same light texture is reached
  5. Lay out a corn husk and spread a few tablespoons of dough on the husk in a 4 inch square. Spread a little meat in the middle and bring the long sides of the wrapper together to encase the meat in the dough. Fold up the bottom of the husk and tie with a string to keep everything together. 
  6. Steam upright in a closed pot for about an hour to an hour and a half until the husk pulls away from the dough. Serve with slaw and salsa and hotsauce and all sorts of delicious things. 

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