Brisket Hot Tamales


Smoked beef brisket fills these hot tamales with deep, savory flavor, making them the perfect companion for a few drops of Southern hot sauce.

Brisket Hot Tamales
Serves: About 18
  • 2 quarts plus 2½ cups warm chicken or beef broth, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
  • 3 cups instant corn masa flour*
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup all-vegetable shortening
  • ¾ pound smoked beef brisket, finely chopped (about 3¼ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (6-ounce) package dried corn husks, soaked in hot water until softened
  • Charred Salsa Verde (recipe follows)
  • Saltine crackers and hot sauce, to serve
  1. In a 5- to 6-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, bring 2 quarts broth, tomato sauce, and 1½ tablespoons chili powder to a boil over medium heat; keep warm.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together masa, baking powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Gradually stir in 2¼ cups plain warm broth, and knead mixture in bowl with spatula until moist and incorporated; cover with plastic wrap.
  3. In a large skillet, stir together brisket, garlic, cumin, remaining ¼ cup plain warm broth, and remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Drain corn husks, and pat dry. Cover husks with a damp towel.
  5. Spread about 3 tablespoons masa dough onto widest half of husk, leaving a small border around edges. Spoon 2 tablespoons brisket mixture down center of dough. Fold sides of husk over brisket, allowing dough to peel from husk; press dough together, covering brisket. Roll into a log. Fold narrow end of husk over seam, and secure with a strip of softened corn husk. Repeat with remaining masa, filling, and husks.
  6. In Dutch oven, stand tamales vertically, open end up, in broth mixture. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 1 hour, adding additional broth or water if needed to keep liquid within ¼ to ½ inch of top of husks. (Do not cover tamales with liquid. Adjust heat as necessary to ensure liquid stays at a gentle simmer; do not fully boil.) Serve with Charred Salsa Verde, saltine crackers, and hot sauce.
*We used Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour.

Charred Salsa Verde
Serves: 3 cups
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet yellow onion
  • ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatillos, jalapeños, and oil. Place mixture in skillet; cook until slightly charred and tender, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Seed and chop jalapeños.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place tomatillos, jalapeños, and all remaining ingredients; pulse until finely chopped. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.



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