Al Pastor Tamales

This recipe is made by Stephanie and in the background is Cloud.  The recipe looks delicious and not too hard to make.  I hope you love the recipe and make it yourself.  Craig


Bake Al pastor at 300 degrees (f) for 2 hours

Lowe temp and bake at 350 degrees (f) for one hour (uncovered)

Steam tamales on low for 35 to 40 mins

Let them rest 15 to 20 minutes before eating



Fresh pineapple

2 Pounds of unprepared fresh Masa

1/3 cup lard ( best flavour use 1/2 cup rendered lard) or Shortening

1 can of pineapple + juice (20 oz can)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 Tbsp salt (adjust to taste)


3 pounds pork butt

4 Guajillos chiles

4 garlic cloves

2 mulato or pasilla chiles

1 small block of achiote paste (3 oz)

1 large bay leaf

1 Tbsp Mexican oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt (Adjust to taste)

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 chipotle pod

1/4 cup oil (blend with marinade)

Toppings- pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime, and roasted salsa verde


If you would like to use this oven-baked Al pastor recipe for tacos, please add pineapple slices to your dish and bake as directed


A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish, made of masa or dough (starchy, and usually corn-based), which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.  The wrapping can either be discarded prior to eating or used as a plate. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chillies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.

Tamale is an anglicized version of the Spanish word tamal (plural: tamales).  Tamal comes from the Nahuatl tamalli.  The English tamale is a back-formation of tamales, with English speakers interpreting the -e- as part of the stem, rather than part of the plural suffix -es.


Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC.

The preparation of tamales is likely to have spread from the Indigenous culture in Mexico and Guatemala to the rest of Latin America. According to archaeologists Karl Taube, William Saturno and David Stuart, tamales may date from the year 100 AD. They found pictorial references in the Mural of San Bartolo, in Petén, Guatemala.

The Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmec and Toltec before them, used tamales as easily portable food, for hunting trips, and for travelling large distances, as well as supporting their armies.  Tamales were also considered sacred, as they were seen as the food of the gods. Aztec, Maya, Olmeca, and Tolteca all considered themselves to be people of corn and so tamales played a large part in their rituals and festivals.

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

Pre-Columbian Mayas

In the pre-Columbian era, the Mayas ate tamales and often served them at feasts and festivals.  The Classic Maya hieroglyph for tamales has been identified on pots and other objects dating back to the Classic Era (200–1000 CE), although it is likely they were eaten much earlier.  While tortillas are the basis for the contemporary Maya diet, there is remarkably little evidence for tortilla production among the Classic period Maya. A lack of griddles in the archaeological record suggests that the primary foodstuff of the Mesoamerican diet may have been the tamal, a cooked, vegetal-wrapped mass of maize dough.  Tamales are cooked without the use of ceramic technologies and therefore the form of the tamale is thought to predate the tortilla.  Similarities between the two maize products can be found in both the ingredients and preparation techniques and the linguistic ambiguity exhibited by the pan-Mayan term wa referring to a basic, daily consumed maize product that can refer to either tortillas or tamales.


In the pre-Columbian era, the Aztecs ate tamales with fillings such as turkey, flamingo, frog, axolotl, pocket gopher, rabbit, fish, turkey eggs, honey, fruits, squash, and beans, as well as with no filling.  Aztec tamales differed from modern tamales by not having added fat.

One of the most significant rituals for the Aztecs was the feast of Atamalcualiztli (eating of water tamales). This ritual, held every eight years for a whole week, was done by eating tamales without any seasoning, spices, or filling which allowed the maize freedom from being overworked in the usual tamale cooking methods.

Modern Mexico

A batch of Mexican tamales in the tamalera

A tamal dulce breakfast tamale from Oaxaca, Mexico. It contains pineapple, raisins and blackberries.

In Mexico, tamales begin with a dough made from ground nixtamalized corn (hominy), called masa, or alternatively a rehydrated masa powder, such as Maseca. It is combined with lard or vegetable shortening, along with broth or water, to bring the dough to the consistency of a very thick batter. It’s traditional to whisk the lard and whisk the resulting batter, with the intent of producing the signature soft and fluffy texture. Modern recipes may use baking powder to achieve a similar effect. Chilli purees or dried chilli powders are also occasionally added to the batter, and in addition to the spice can cause some tamales to appear red in colour. Tamales are generally wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves before being steamed, with the choice of husk depending on the region. They usually have a sweet or savoury filling and are usually steamed until firm.

Tamale-making is a ritual that has been part of Mexican life since pre-Hispanic times when special fillings and forms were designated for each specific festival or life event. Today, tamales are typically filled with meats, cheese or vegetables, especially chillies. Preparation is complex, time-consuming and an excellent example of Mexican communal cooking, where this task usually falls to the women.  Tamales are a favourite comfort food in Mexico, eaten as both breakfast and dinner, and often accompanied by hot atole or champurrado and arroz con leche (rice porridge, lit. ‘rice with milk’) or maize-based beverages of indigenous origin. Street vendors can be seen serving them from huge, steaming, covered pots (tamaleras) or ollas.

Instead of corn husks, banana or plantain leaves are used in tropical parts of the country, such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, and the Yucatán Peninsula. These tamales are rather square in shape, often very large—15 inches (40 cm)—and these larger tamales are commonly known as pibs in the Yucatán Peninsula. Another very large type of tamale is zacahuil, made in the Huasteca region of Mexico. Depending on the size, zacahuil can feed anywhere between 50 and 200 people; they are made during festivals and holidays, for quinceañeras, and on Sundays to be sold at the markets.

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