Chile Colorado Pork Tamales-Tamales de Puerco

Without this chile colorado pork tamal, my holidays would not be complete! Simple and staple ingredients are they key to tasty tamales!
Course Main Course, Pork
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 48 Tamales


For the Pork

  • 4 1/2 pounds pork butt or shoulder boneless if possible
  • 1 whole garlic bulb whole head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Salt

For Chile Ancho Salsa/Sauce

  • 20 chile ancho or a mix of chile guajillo or chile California
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or 4-5 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 cups pork broth from cooking the pork shoulder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • teaspoons pepper

For the Masa Dough:

  • 5 cups masa harina corn flour for tamales like maseca brand
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cups pork broth From cooking the pork shoulder
  • 1 cup chile ancho salsa previously prepared and reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups pork lard, manteca melted

You Will Also Need:

  • 50 corn husks for  medium tamales plus more for steaming
  • A large steamer pot



  • Cover pork with 15 cups of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and whole head of garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook at a steady simmer for 4 hours, or until pork becomes tender. Skim the foam off from pork as it cooks. Flip pork over halfway through cooking time.
  • Place the corn husk in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Cover and let soak for a few hours. The longer the better. I soak mine for overnight, changing the water the next day.
  • Remove the stems and seeds from chile ancho, transfer to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for another 10  to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Drain the peppers and transfer them to a blender. Add 3 cups of pork broth(from cooking pork), 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper. Blend in two batches if needed. Blend until smooth, set aside 1 cup to add into the masa dough.
  • Once the pork is cooked, remove from the broth and let it cool for a little while. When cool enough, shred the pork or chop small. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of  manteca or canola oil to medium heat in a large pot. Add the chile ancho sauce from the blender and cook for 5 minutes. Add in all of the pork and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of remaining pork broth. Cook at a low simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until the broth reduces. Taste for salt.
  • Prepare the masa dough: Combine masa harina, baking powder and salt in large bowl,  gradually add 4 cups warm pork broth.  Add 1 cup of reserved chile ancho sauce. Using your hands, work into a soft dough. In another glass bowl, melt the manteca. Add the lard/manteca  and remaining 1 cup of warm broth to the masa and work with hands for 7-10 minutes. The masa should have a frosting like texture. If the masa seems too thick, add a little more  broth. Always taste the masa for salt. Very important. Keep masa covered with a damp paper towel  or plastic until ready to use.
  • To assemble tamales: Take a few of the husks at a time, shake off water, if they are more than 4 inches wide, just tear off the side a little. Place the corn husk in the palm of your hand with the wide side closest to you. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of masa all over the bottom half of husk. Place a heaping 2 tablespoons of filling lengthwise down the center of the tamale. Fold one side in first, then the other side (it should overlap a little on the first fold). Fold down the empty top section down and lay tamale seam-side down until ready to cook.
  • Prepare large pot to steam tamales, Fill the bottom of a large steamer pot with water. Insert the steamer. Arrange all of your tamales standing up (open side up). I like to take a few extra corn husks and arrange them on top of the filled tamales. This will help keep them moist while they steam. Turn heat to high to begin steaming, then reduce to medium for the next 90 minutes.  After the 45 minutes, I add a little more hot water to the steamer. Steam for another 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 30-45 minutes before serving. This will yield 48 medium tamales. Serve with rice, beans and tomatillo salsa!


Tips~ When you mix the masa base, I always add equal parts masa harina and liquid/broth. This is before the melted manteca or extra broth is added to make it spreadable. So if adding chile sauce, that portion would count as a liquid. Example: For 5 cups Masa Harina add 4 cups warm water/broth and 1 cup chile sauce. The results, for me, is always a well flavored and moist tamal. Things I have learned over the years....and still learning.
Since this post, I have purchased a stand mixer. I now use it to mix my masa. Start by whipping the pork lard. Gradually mix in the dry masa harina. Mix in the baking powder, salt and chile sauce. At the lowest speed, gradually mix in the warm broth until the masa comes together. Continue mixing for 5 minutes. Ready! Taste for salt!
While the pork is cooking, prep and cook the dried chiles for the sauce. You could also start the masa ans keep it covered tightly, then just mix in the warm broth once pork is cooked.