Birria Tamales are HANDS DOWN the best tamales ever! Perdóneme, abuelita.
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Up until just recently, my grandmother’s Red Pork Tamales were my favorite. These, though, blew my mind and taste buds away.
Made with soft, tender Slow Cooker Birria de Res. They are incredibly flavorful and oh so delicious!
Once you taste them, you’ll understand why these tamales are next level!
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Make the Sauce for the Beef
- 2 How to Cook the Beef
- 3 Soaking the Corn Husks
- 4 How to Make the Masa
- 5 How to Assemble the Tamales
- 6 How to Steam Tamales
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 Birria Tamales
How to Make the Sauce for the Beef
- Rehydrate dried chiles anchos and guajillo
- Add to a blender with all the spices, garlic, bouillon, and water.
- Blend until smooth.
The red chile sauce will add tons of flavor to the tasty consommé.
What’s the difference between Consommé and Consomé?
Consommé is the English word to describe the broth made in the cooking process. Consomé is the Spanish term.
How to Cook the Beef
- Sear the meat.
- Place in a slow cooker.
- Add the strained sauce.
- Cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or high for 6 hours.
Instant Pot Birria: By far, this is my favorite way to cook the beef because it’s ready in half the time. Follow along the instructions for Instant Pot Birria Tacos.
How to Cook Birria on the Stovetop: Sear meat, add the strained sauce, then cover and cook for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Add 2 cups of beef broth after an hour. The meat is ready when it is fork tender.
Soaking the Corn Husks
- Separate the corn husks.
- Remove any hair, rocks, or bugs from the corn husks.
- Submerge in hot water for 20-30 minutes, or until pliable.
Best way is to do this is overnight.
That way, you don’t have an extra step to do when you’re making tamales.
How to Make the Masa
- Cream the shortening.
- Mix together the salt, baking powder, and masa harina.
- Take turns adding the masa harina mixture and the warm water.
- Do this until everything is well combined.
Look at the texture of the masa for tamales. It’s creamy and smooth and perfect!
To save yourself a step, buy pre-made masa from a local Mexican grocery store or Mexican restaurant.
How to Assemble the Tamales
- Spread a thin layer of masa on the corn husk.
- Use your best judgement and add a generous amount of the birria.
- Fold one side of the corn husk over the meat.
- Next, fold the other side in.
- Fold the pointy bottom to the center.
Repeat until there are no ingredients.
How to Steam Tamales
- Add water to the steamer pot.
- Assemble all the tamales open-side up.
- Cook for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours.
Once the tamales are cooked, leave them in the pot with the lid on and the heat off for an additional 30 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are tamales so bad for you?
Most tamales masa is made with lard which can increase your cholesterol level. However, nowadays, you can find masa with oil that are better for you.
How do you eat tamales?
Remove corn husks. Using a fork, cut off a small piece and enjoy. Pour some salsa, if desired.
How long to cook/steam tamales for?
It depends on the filling, but for the most part 1 ½ to 2 hours. To reheat frozen tamales, 20-25 minutes in a steamer pot with water.
How long do tamales last in the fridge?
Cooked tamales last 4 to 5 days in the fridge. Frozen tamales last up to 4 months.
Are tamales gluten free?
They are 100% gluten free! Masa is naturally gluten free.
See how I’m dunking the tamal into the consommé? You can do it this way, or use a fork, cut off a piece of tamal and dunk it into the broth.
The combination of flavors of these Birria Tamales is insane! Drink up any leftover consommé and enjoy.
Hungry for More?
Did you make this recipe? Please rate the recipe below!
For the Birria:
- 4 lbs chuck roast beef
- 4 cups water
- 5 dried chile guajillo
- 2 dried chile ancho
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 whole cloves
- ¼ whole cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 2 bay leaves (or laurel leaves)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon salt (for the sauce)
- ½ tsp ground pepper (for the sauce)
- 1 tablespoon salt (to season beef)
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper (to season beef)
- water (enough to cover the beef)
For the Masa:
To make Birria:
- Heat the griddle, or pan.
- Toast the chiles on the griddle for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn frequently, making sure they do NOT burn.
- If they burn, discard the chiles and start again.
- Once toasted, transfer to a heatproof bowl.
- Add 1 cup hot water and let the chiles soak for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
- Seed and devein the chiles, saving the water.
- Add the saved water, the chiles, garlic, oregano, thyme, clove, cinnamon, bouillon, laurel leaves (or bay leaves), salt and pepper in a blender.
- Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat two tablespoons oil.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper.
- Sear the beef on all sides.
- Once the meat is brown, transfer to the slow cooker.
- Strain the chile mixture into the slow cooker, over the meat.
- Add enough water to cover the meat.
- Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
- Shred beef. Set aside until ready to use.
- Please note: Instant Pot and Stove Top instructions are in the blog post.
- To make more consomme: Remove half of the beef and add 2 cups of beef broth to the slow cooker. Cook for 1 more hour.
How to Make Masa for Tamales:
- Beat the lard with your mixer until smooth for about 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the masa, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients in small batches to the mixer.
- Alternate with the hot water until completely mixed.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl as need.
- The masa should be smooth.
Soaking the Corn Husks:
- Remove any debris, hair, bugs from the corn husks.
- Soak in hot water for 20-30 minutes, until pliable.
- Discard water when ready to assemble.
How to Assemble the Tamales:
- Create a workstation with the masa, corn husks, and birria.
- Take a corn husk.
- Spread a thin layer of masa on the husk except for the pointy top.
- Add a generous amount of beef birria to the center of the masa.
- Use your best judgment as to how much beef to add.
- Fold one of the sides of the corn husks to the center.
- Fold over the other side of the husk in.
- Take the point top of the corn husk and fold to the center.
- Place upright while assembling the rest of the tamales.
- Repeat until there are no more ingredients.
- Add water to the pot. Just above the steamer insert.
- Place all the tamales upright into the steamer pot.
- Cover with the lid.
- Cook for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours.
- Once the tamal peels away from the husk, the tamales are ready.
- Serve with consomme for dipping.
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.