Thursday, May 22, 2008


Here’s what we’ll need:

Masa - Laurene

Chili Sauce - Laurene

Pork Meat - Renae

Cornhusks – Susie

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (to wrap the dozens of tamales afterwards)

Ziplock Bags for freezing each dozen tamales

Onions (for boiling the meat)

Several Heads of Garlic

Ground Cumin


BIG Pots with tight-fitting tops

Does anyone have any vegetable steamers? (Small metal things that you open up & place veggies on to steam them) – if so, bring them

Paper Towels

Scouring pads for pots

Old clean towels to go into the pots

Keep all your receipts & we will tally them up & divide the costs on Saturday.

This is going to be an all day affair – plan on about 8 hours from start to finished product – so we should probably plan on starting around 10:00 am or so & finishing around 6:00 pm. Also, it will really speed things up quite a bit if each of us can prepare our items at home the day before and bring it ready to begin assembling the day we make the tamales.

RENAE: I propose that Renae boils the pork a day ahead of time before bringing it here. If you has enough time & would like to cut & shred the meat up into tiny pieces as well, that would even be better & save us a lot of time. Be sure to save all the liquid that you boil it in, especially saving the fat that will rise to the top & harden overnight in the cold. We need that fat instead of buying lard that has been processed and is worse for you than the plain pork fat (believe it or not!). Boil the meat in water with a couple of whole onions, a little cumin, maybe a whole head of garlic & enough salt to season it well. (Transport the meat and liquids separately, please.)

SUSIE: Likewise, Susie, if you would soak the cornhusks in hot water on Friday night, pull them apart & take out all the corn silk & drain them to bring them on Saturday morning, ready to go – that would be great.

LAURENE: I will get the masa here ready to go and prepare the chili sauce.

Once we get here, we will need to warm up the pork broth and add it to the masa. The mixing of the masa is the singular hardest job of the whole process. I once mixed 40 lbs. Of masa – on my own – and woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain because I had over used my arm muscles. But if all 3 of us take turns, we should be able to get this done without too much effort. What we really need is a large mixer – not one of the handheld types – to mix the masa up quickly. Anyone have access to one we could borrow?

I also always add a little of the chili sauce to the masa to color it. Most people don’t & that’s why their tamales are so hard & tasteless.

Here’s the break down on the amount of masa in proportion to the number of tamales made:

Lbs. Of Masa Doz. Tamales Total # of Tamales Doz. Tamales Each # Each

40 lbs. 27 doz. 324 9 doz. Ea. 108

20 lbs. 13.5 doz. 162 4.5 doz. Ea. 54

10 lbs. 6.75 doz. 81 2.25 doz. Ea. 27

I propose that we buy 40 lbs. of masa. & make the 27 dozen.

Masa = 40 lbs. @ $.69/lb. = $27.60

Pork = Approx. $1.00/lb. = we’ll need about 15 - 20 lbs. total

Cornhusks = 1 lb. bags of dried cornhusks – you will have to estimate how many corn husks are in a bag & remember that we will be producing about 324 tamales (Ask someone at the store who might know). We will also need extras as not all the husks will be in one big piece and we will need to fit pieces together. Also, we will need to line the pots with the extra cornhusks as the tamales steam. So we’ll need quite a few. Look around to see where you can get the best deal on them – check the Mexican stores because they should be a lot cheaper than the regular gringo grocery stores. See if you can return any you don’t use with your receipt. They may let you as they can sell a lot of them during the Xmas season & they’ll always need more. Just don’t open all of the packages then until you get here (do one or two) and we’ll soak the rest here.

Finally, let me know what you girls like to drink & eat & I’ll try to have snacks & things here for us to nibble during the day. (Soda? Tea? Coffee? Sandwiches? Veggies & dip?) Help me out here because I don’t have a clue as to what you’d like. Don’t be shy!

Let me know if you have any questions. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.

UPDATE: 12-4-07

40 lbs. Masa = 20 lbs. Pork = 12 lbs. Cornhusks = Dry Chilis (?)

$27.60 + $20.00 + $14.00 = $61.60

It all came out to about $120.00 Total

UPDATE: December 19, 2007

40 lbs. Prepared Masa

20-24 lbs. Pork Butt

A little less than 20 oz. of Chile Ancho

Waaaay too many cornhusks

PS – they came out GREAT! Next time, don’t bother adding more than a very tiny bit of chilli to color the masa. It didn’t need it at all.

April 23, 2008

2nd Tamale-making Party:

We started at about 10:00 am & finished at about 6:00 pm

25 lbs masa – from Chicago Rd. Store @ $1.49/lb w/ lard (not enough)

(Don’t buy it from here again! Too dry)

We added a little bit of the chile to the masa – probably should have left some of the fat on the meat to keep them moister. (Would be really good with the addition of some skin)

12 lbs pork butt (enough for 25 lbs masa & a little left over)

End result: Made about 20 doz.

We used the leftover cornhusks from last time.

Note: You need about 1 pkg of cornhusks to each 5 lbs of masa (just an estimate).

1 comment:

Suzy Dritz said...

Count me in for the next time you do this. I've always wanted to make tamales!