Pork Tamales with Salsa Verde

Pork Tamales with Salsa Verde- authentic Mexican Tamales filled with tender pork shoulder and tangy tomatillo salsa, perfect for your holiday feast! These are time consuming, but can be made in stages, or even better—with friends! #porktamales #tamalesrecipe #porkchiliverde

Pork Tamales with Salsa Verde- authentic Mexican Tamales filled with tender pork shoulder and tangy tomatillo salsa, make for the holidays!



8 ounces (1/2 pound) dry corn husks

For the pork:

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder

1 white onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 sprigs fresh Mexican oregano or Italian oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano

For the Salsa Verde:

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and washed

1 small white onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalapeño, stem removed cut in half

1 serrano pepper, stem removed and cut in half (or just use 2 jalapeños)

1 small bunch cilantro, washed, dried, and 1 inch of the bottom of the stems removed

12 teaspoons kosher salt

For the masa:

2 1/2 cups fresh pork lard

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

4 pounds fresh masa quebrada para tamales– NOT masa preparada para tamales

1 1/4 cups pork stock (from cooking the pork shoulder)


Soak the corn husks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add corn husks. Place a bowl on top and press down to completely submerge husks under water. Let soak for at least 1 hour or until very pliable. Drain completely.

Cook the pork. Combine pork shoulder, onion, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, and oregano in a separate large pot and fill with water. Water should cover ingredients by at least 2 inches.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until pork is very tender and can easily be shredded with a fork, about 2 hours.

Remove pork to a baking sheet or large plate. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container and discard solids. Shred pork with two forks or your hands (if cool enough to handle).

Make salsa verde. Combine tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chiles in a large saucepan. Fill with water covering vegetables by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatillos are starting to get soft, but not bursting, about 5 minutes.

Drain vegetables and place in blender, let cool. Add cilantro and 1 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Mix pork and salsa. In a large bowl mix together shredded pork and 2/3 of the salsa. Save the other third of the salsa for serving the tamales.

Make the masa. Place lard in the bowl of a 6-quart stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If your mixer is smaller than 6 quarts, make the masa in two batches.

Add baking powder and salt and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and continue beating until whipped and light, about another 3 minutes.

With the machine still beating, add hunks of masa, a couple tablespoons at a time and continue beating until all masa has been added and its very fluffy, about another 5 minutes.

Turn machine off, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, add pork broth and turn machine on low to combine. Once completely combined, return mixer to high and keep beating another minute or so.

Prepare the steamer pot. Fill the pot about a third of the way full with water. Place the steamer insert on top and line the insert with corn husks that are too small or torn to use for tamales. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Assemble the tamales.

Take one corn husk that is about as wide as your hand on the bottom, dry both sides with a kitchen towel

Spoon about 1/3 cup of masa on the wide end of the corn husk. Spread in an even layer on the bottom half of the corn husk, leaving about 1/2 inch border on the right, left, and bottom sides (see images in post).

Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the pork filling in a line down the middle.

Fold the right side of the corn husk over the left side and pull as tight as you can without the filling spilling out the top. Roll up.

Fold the triangle tip over the wide bottom. Tie with corn husk strips if you’d like.

Repeat with remaining masa and filling.

Cook the tamales. Place tamales, vertically, open-side up in the tamales steamer. Lean the tamales against the side of the pot to keep from falling until you have enough in the pot that they support each other.

Place over medium high heat so there’s lots of steam. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and then the lid.

Steam until masa is cooked through, about 40-50 minutes. Check occasionally to add more water to the steamer if needed.

To see if the tamales are ready, remove one from the pot and let cool for a few minutes. Unwrap and see if the masa is cooked in the middle. It should be firm, fluffy, and spring back when you press on it.

If they are ready, unwrap, top with remaining salsa verde and enjoy!


Use coconut oil, butter, or vegetable shortening instead of lard if you’d prefer.

Keywords: pork tamales