red pork tamales

Crock-pot Red Pork Tamale Filling Recipe

easy to make spicy red pork filling made in the crock pot perfect for homemade tamales. It's easier to make these red pork tamales than you think and so worth it.
Course dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pork tamale, tamale
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
marinade 3 hours
Total Time 12 hours 50 minutes
Servings 50 tamales
Calories 50kcal
Author Ashlee Marie


Red pork filling

  • lbs boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt cut into 3-inch chunks and trimmed
  • 2 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 9 cloves garlic lightly smashed and peeled
  • 4 dried bay leaves toasted
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 20-25 various types of dried red chiles guajillo,New Mexico Big Jim and/or Ancho - they all work well
  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Black peppercorns

Tamale dough - you''ll probably need a few batches


Red Pork Filling

  • First de-stem and de-seed your chilies
  • Soak the red chilies in hot water until they are soft. Weight them down, to keep them soaking
  • Toast your bay leaves however you like. I cooked them in a dry skillet over low heat on the stove.
  • Your chilies should be nice and soft now, put them in a blender or food processor, but retain the chile water (use gloves or tongs)
  • Add the garlic, onion, thyme, marjoram, oregano, salt and pepper with the chilies to the blender and blend until smooth.
  • If it's too thick or not blending well add some of your chile water to the blender. I used about half a cup
  • In a large enough bowl so the meat can be covered (or in a large gallon size zip-lock freezer bag, like me), add the cubed pork, bay leaves and smother with the chile mix so that it can marinate for a minimum of 3 hours.
  • After marinating for a sufficient amount of time, add the meat and the chile mixture to your slow cooker and cook on low overnight (or all day depending on what time your going to make your tamales, you want a good 8 hours).
  • When it's done shred the pork and your ready to fill your tamales!


  • soak the corn husks in water until soft
  • whisk the Maseca, baking powder and salt together
  • add the broth and combine
  • in a separate bowl beat the lard until fluffy
  • add add most of the beaten lard to the maseca mixture and combine with your hands - mix until the texture feels right - this might take a little playing - add more lard as needed
  • keep a damp paper towel over the dough your not using to keep it from drying out
  • roll a ball about 1 1/2 inches wide, flatten it (I use a tortilla press with a plastic bag)  - if the texture is right the flattened circle won't break or crack, if it does add more whipped lard
  • dry a corn husk, and place the flattened circle in the corn husk
  • fill with a few Tablespoons of filling and fold one side, then the other over the filling, then fold up the bottom and press closed.  I recommend using the corn husk vs your hands - try not to touch the filling.
  • wrap the corn husk around and fold up the bottom and use the husk to fold and press the top dough down, seal.


  • stack the wrapped tamales chimney style in a large steamer
  • add a damp towel over the top and steam for 1 hour - text to see if they are done - they might need to steam for an extra 30 mins. 
  • Serve with Beans!
  • you can freeze extras before or after steaming



Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.4mg