Recipe courtesy of Doe's Eat Place

All-Beef Tamales

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  • Total: 10 hr 30 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 18 to 25 servings


Beef Tamale Filling:

Cornmeal Mixture:

Tamale Boil Mixture:


Special equipment:
18 to 25 7-inch square tamale wrappers or corn husks
  1. For the filling: In a medium pot set over medium heat, add the ground beef, 2 teaspoons of the garlic salt, 1 tablespoon of the salt and the cayenne and then add enough water to cover the mixture, about 4 cups. Bring to a simmer and cook until the meat is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the meat and reserve the cooking liquid for a later use.
  3. In a food processor, process the meat to a medium-fine consistency and add the remaining 1 tablespoon garlic salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the kidney fat, garlic, onion and cumin. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. For the cornmeal mixture: In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, chili seasoning, kidney fat, onion and garlic, and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved beef liquid and, using your hands, mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Continue to add more liquid until the mixture can be pressed into a ball in your hand and will hold its shape even when tossed around lightly, about 1/4 cup. Cover and place the cornmeal mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. After the meat mixture and cornmeal mixture have cooled, run both mixtures through the food processor separately to achieve smooth and uniform textures to build the tamales.
  6. Dip the tamale wrappers in water or soak the cornhusks in hot water to soften. Lay the wrappers flat on the work surface. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of the chilled cornmeal mixture and form it into a boat about 4-inches long and 1 1/2-inches wide. Fill the center of the cornmeal boat with 2 teaspoons of the meat mixture and then pinch the cornmeal to cover and seal in the ends. Repeat for the remaining cornmeal and beef, making 18 to 25 tamales total. Roll the tamales in the wrappers, folding over one end and leaving the other end open. 
  7. Fold the open end over and tie three tamales into a bundle; repeat for the remaining tamales. Refrigerate the tamales for 2 hours before cooking.
  8. For the boil mixture: Add 8 cups water, the salt, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder to a pot and bring to a simmer.
  9. Place the tamales in a separate pot with the open ends facing up. The tamales should be tightly packed so they all stand upright. Pour the simmering boil mixture over the tamales. 
  10. Cover and cook for 3 hours over medium heat.
  11. Remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
  12. Add enough water to cover the tamales and cook for 1 more hour.
  13. Remove the tamales from the pot and unwrap. Serve warm with chili.