Smoked Pork Tamales

This was my first post for the GrillinFools. I figure I would go with the thing that defined  me best for my inaugural recipe post. This is the abbreviated version because the step by step write up can be found here.


  • 5.5 lb Bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 bag of guajillo chilies (yields 14 chilies per bag)
  • Dried corn husks (soaked in water overnight)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 5lb pre-made masa
  • Canola oil
  • 1 cup of beer


  • 2tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1tsp Ground green jalapeno pepper
  • 1tsp Ground white pepper
  • 1tbsp Dark roasted chili powder
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire powder
  • 1tbsp Oregano
  • 1tbsp Ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp Granulated garlic
  • 1tsp Kosher salt

Smoking the pork:

Smoking pork shoulder on the grill.

Prep time – 10 minutes                                                                                                     Cook time – 5 hours

  1. Mix all rub ingredients in a bowl, reserve ½ cup for the chili sauce
  2. Rinse pork in water and pat dry
  3. Drizzle oil all over pork butt
  4. Cover all sides of pork butt with rub
  5. Set up smoker to 375-400 degrees
  6. Place meat on the smoker, add apple wood to the charcoal for flavor
  7. After 2 hours, wrap pork in aluminum foil, add beer inside and place the meat back on the smoker
  8. Let it steam in aluminum foil for 2 hours or until bone pulls out cleanly
  9. Rest pork butt for 1 hour or until it is cool enough to handle
  10. Pull the pork into fine shredded pieces

Chile sauce:                                                                                                                                                                                                          Total time – 2hrs 30 min.

  1. Roast the chilies on the grill, do not burn them
  2. Soak the chilies for 2 hours in a large container
  3. Deseed all the chilies and place them in a blender
  4. Add reserve rub to the blender
  5. Take 2.5 cups from the water the chilies were soaking in to add to the blender, use a strainer to keep debris out
  6. Blend until smooth

Shredded pork with chile sauce.

Instructions:                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prep time – 2 hours                                                                                                                                                                                            Cook time – 1 hour

  1. Pour masa into a large mixing bowl
  2. Add 2 cups of chili sauce to the masa, mix well
  3. Pour just enough chili sauce to coat the pork, mix well (save extra chili sauce for some chili con carne)
  4. Take a corn husk and spread the masa on it with a spoon. Spread the masa all the way to the wide edge of the corn husk while leaving a finger length with no masa at the narrow end. The masa should be about the thickness of a tortilla.
  5. Add a spoonful of pork to the center of the corn husk
  6. Overlap one side of the corn husk to the other and tuck the narrow end to form a pocket.
  7. Repeat the process until all of the ingredients are gone
  8. Prepare the tamalera (aka tamale steam pot), by adding water to the bottom of the pot and bringing it to a boil
  9. Place all the tamales in the tamalera and steam for 1 hour or until the masa is no longer doughy
  10. Let it cool down before handling

Tamales before they are steamed.

This recipe yields between 40-50 tamales. (Time is based on one person)

When they are cooled down, I place my extra tamales in the freezer since I’m not going to be eating all of them in the next few days. They last a long time in the ice box. I reheat them by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and place them in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. If you want to serve tamales up the right way, top it off with a fried egg. Remember to remove the corn husk before consuming the tamale.

Steamed tamale with a fried egg and salsa.

3 thoughts on “Smoked Pork Tamales

  1. Pingback: Christmas Tamales | Major League Grilling

  2. Pingback: Smoked Pork Taquitos | Major League Grilling

  3. I love tamales. Always loved when a family friend would come and bring over like 30 tamales for us. Now that I’m older, it’s about time I learn for myself, thank you for this.

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