My Brother Billie Joe's

Californiano Tamales

I wrote to brother Billie Joe and sent my recipes for tamales. I asked for his favorite and he sent this. "This buying guide for the tamales is all we have . How to make, blend and put all the ingedients together has been passed on by Gramma Garcia to her children, who in turned has passed it on to whoever wanted to learn and go through all the trouble that it takes to make them. The amount of meat, chile and masa and other ingedients make 12 dozen tamales. That's the only way we make them. If your going to go through all the trouble, you might as well make it worthwhile. Normally a few families get together and spend two days making tamales. That's where the tequila comes in."

Preparation Time : Up to 2 days with a lot of help

Makes 12 dozen tamales

Heirloom Recipe

Grandma Garcia, traditional

  • 1 bag of Costco onions
  • 27 pouinds of pork
  • 1 pound New Mexico Chiles
  • 1 pound Serrano Chile
  • Bacon grease (enough to brown all the meat)
  • Black olives. (Two for each tamale)
  • Cumin
  • Corn husks to make 12 dozen tamales
  • 1 or 2 bottles of Tequila and Maragarita mix
  • 20 1/2 pounds of beef stew meat
  • 4 pounds California Chiles
  • 1/2 pound Chile de Arbol
  • Two big jars garlic
  • Muscat raisins (two or three for each tamale)
  • 40lbs fresh Masa
  • What ever you do, do'nt ran out of ice. Ha, Ha

After reading your web-page on tamales, I had to write you. There are a lot of people in Mexico that eat the kind of tamales you make, My family came from the part that makes the big round juicy type, that are tied at both ends. This is how we make them with the help of a lot of family and friends.

The meat has to be the toughest butt roast, or stewing meat that you can find. You need one big frying pan, big enough to hold 5 pounds of meat. A big stewing pot, 50 quart size will do. Two gas burners, the first time you do this in the kitchen, will be the last. 4 or 5 big paper bags to mix the flour and seasonings in, a big spatula and equally big spoon. Dice onions, cube meat into 3/4 inch squares.

  • In frying pan place two spoons of grease (enough to brown 5 pounds of meat), after it's hot add two hands full of onions and a big spoon full of crushed garlic, BROWN.
  • In a paper bag put your seasoning mix, Salt, pepper, garlic salt, and garlic power, just enough for 5 pounds of meat. Keep track of amount of seasoning .After you taste the first batch, after the meat is browned, add or subtract the amount of seasoning needed to make it just right, then make-up about 10 batches and set aside.
  • Place 3 pounds of beef and 2 pounds pork in bag and shake.
  • Add to onions and garlic in frying pan and brown.

While this is going on, another group,THE CHILE GROUP, will prepare the Chiles. Keep all the Chiles separate, until ready to blend.

  • Clean pods, take stems off and dump some of the seed. Place pods in pot of water. Simmer for at least an hours.
  • Take pods and fill blender. Blend until smooth and pour in big pot. Do this with all the types of chilies. Still keep chilies separate in own pot.
  • Simmer chilies adding seasoning. for at least another hour.

Back outside to the meat browner's...

  • As each pan of meat is brown, dump it into your big pot. Pot should be 1/4 full of hot water.
  • Turn on burner under meat.
  • When finished with all the meat cover and let simmer for an hour.
  • Add the California and Mexico chilies together, taste and add more of one or the other,
  • Now, pour half the pot of Chile into another pot. The first pot will be the mild Chile. The second pot you begin to add the other chilies until the temperature has a spicy tang to it. Too hot, your trying to hide the taste. Not hot enough, you've wasted your time.
  • Now add the meat to the first, second, third pots, how ever many blends you want. One word of caution, When you add the hot chilies, do it one spoon-full at a time. then taste and add more if needed.
  • Place pots on burner and simmer until meat is tender. YOU do not want the meat soft or over done.
    • The corn husks, prepare as you would the other kind of tamales.
  • On each corn leaf spread a small amount of masa. We use the fresh ground kind. Most market can order for you. Only about 1/16 to 1/8 deep,
  • Place two or three leaves together in the palm of your hand and place a big scoop of the stew on the leaves . YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE STEW TO SIT OVER NIGHT . After the stew is done, place it in shallow pans of plastic ware and put in a cool place to solidify.
  • If needed add another leaf and place in a tie down holder, (You can only buy these from me.) and tie the ends.
  • When ready to eat, place as many as you can in a big pot and steam for an hour or an hour and a half. Don't forget to place the olives and raisins in each one.
  • Now you can see where the Margarita's come in. While you have ever body there, make some. place some of the stew in the refrigerator and after it gets hard, make as least two tamales for each person and steam. Have your best Margaritas maker make a big batch to enjoy while your waiting for the tamales to cook. Enjoy!

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