Let me take you back to seven years ago when I first posted my homemade tortilla video. I got a lot of hate. Yes, pure hatred at the nerve I had to post a tortilla recipe that did not contain lard. Well, here I go again — my no lard tamales are delicious and so much healthier than being made with cups of lard — yes, please.
Tamales are the type of meal that you make when you have time on your hands. They take about 6-7 hours from start to finish. While most of that is passive (while the meat cooks), that is a significant amount of time dedicated to one dish.
What I really love about this recipe is that you can change it up depending on your preference. In this recipe, I used pork tenderloin, but you could easily use beef or chicken. I’m working up a way to get a lot of flavor in a black bean tamale, but I’m not there yet.
I chose a pork tenderloin to cut back on the saturated fat in the broth. You will use the rendered broth from the cooking for the masa mixture. This equals maximum flavor.
They do take a little practice to roll out, but by the time you are done, you will have it mastered. If you’re unsure of how to roll, there are plenty of YouTube videos ready to show you.
I always freeze about half of my no lard tamales, because they reheat beautifully in the microwave or oven. They are a labor of love, but if you love tamales, you should try and make them at least once.Print
No Lard Tamales
- Total Time: 46 minute
- Yield: 24 1x
4 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, paprika, cumin chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3.5 cups water
2 bay leaves
Tamale Masa Mixture
4.5 cups masa harina
3.5 cups of the pork broth
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
24 Corn husks
Preheat oven to 300°F.
In a large Dutch oven, add pork cubes and season with salt, pepper, and all the spices.
Add the onion, garlic, water, and bay leaves to the pork. Cover the pot and cook for 4 hours.
Let cool for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves.
Separate the meat from the liquid – the meat will be your filling and the liquid will be used to flavor your masa.
Shred the pork with 2 forks to get ready for filling the tamales.
Soak the Husks
Fill a large baking dish with water and allow your corn husks to soak for at least 15 minutes.
Measure out 3.5 cups of the liquid and add to a mixing bowl with masa harina, baking powder, and salt.
Stir until combined and the mixture is still only slightly sticky.
Measure out 1/4 cup of masa mixture and roll it into a ball. Place the ball of dough in the middle of a corn husk and spread it into a rectangle with your fingers or a spoon, leaving at least 1/2″space on each long side of the corn husk. The extra space could be larger depending on the size of your corn husk – they are all different. The masa should be about 1/4″ thick. Add 2 tablespoons of pork filling to the masa. To fold, take one end of the corn husk and match up the masa to form the tamale, like you’re folding a taco. Then, press the ends of the tamale together and wrap up the remaining sides of the husk. Fold the pointed end of the corn husk down over the tamale to seal off one end, leave the other end open.
In a stock pot with a steamer basket, add water to the bottom and turn the heat to simmer. Ensure you keep an eye on the water and refill as needed. Add the tamales to the steamer basket, with the open side up. Cover and steam for 45 minutes or until the corn husk easily pulls away from the masa.
You can add a small amount of salsa with the pork filling before rolling to add more flavor to your tamales.
Prep: 30 minutes
Slow Cook the Meat: 4 hours
Roll tamales: 60 minutes
Steam: 45 minutes per batch (depends on the size of your pot)
- Prep Time: 2.5 hours
- Cook Time: 5-6 hours