Bourbon Pork Tamales


By Richard Thomas

Bourbon whiskey’s flavor profile is such a marvelous enhancement to so many of the pork dishes in American cuisine, but what about recipes from abroad? Say, south of the border? As we show here, bourbon can add some real kick to classic pork tamales.


For Filling:
3/4 cup of bourbon whiskey
1/2 cup of salsa
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 large yellow onion
2 lbs of pork shoulder

For tamale dough:
2 cups of corn masa (use masa, not corn meal!)
2/3 cup of lard
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2 cups of chicken broth

Plus corn husks

For sauce:
4 more cups of salsa
1/2 cup of honey
3/4 cup of bourbon
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of liquid smoke

Use a slow cooker to prepare the pork. Cut the big onion into circular slices, line the bottom of the cooker with these, and place the pork shoulder atop the onions, fat side down. Mix the other ingredients for this part in a bowl, and then pour them over the pork shoulder. Set the shoulder to cook on low for eight hours.

Once cooked, set the pork shoulder, onions, and fluid aside. Allow the pork to cool sufficiently to handle it, and then shred it by hand, as you would for pulled pork. Chop the cooked, sliced onions mix them into the pork with the fluid.

Now onto the making tamale dough and filling them.

Soak the corn husks in warm water. Mix the masa, chicken brother, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Then add the lard. Continue mixing until the dough has a spongy texture.

For the tamale sauce, place the salsa, honey, cumin, cayenne pepper and bourbon in a medium saucepan and simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Set aside.

Next, make the tamale sauce. Simply combine the ingredients and stir together in a bowl. When that is done, pour the sauce into the pork.

Finally, you are ready to make tamales. Spread two or three tbsp of masa across the wide cross-section of a corn husk, flattening it into a patty. Spoon out two to three tbsp of pork into the center of the masa patty. Now fold all sides of the husk inward, wrapping the pork up in masa as you do so. Keep on making tamales until you have enough or run out of materials.

Cook your tamales by steaming them for one hour.

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