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Plated Barbacoa Tamales


  • Rumba Meats® Beef Cheek Meat (1 package)
  • 1 yellow onion, halved, divided
  • 4 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
  • 12 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin divided
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, divided
  • 40 dried corn husks
  • 2 chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 cups corn masa mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup lard
  • Tomatillo salsa as needed
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine beef cheekmeat, ½ onion, 2 cups chicken broth, cider vinegar, 4 garlic cloves, 2 guajillo chiles, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon cumin and 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook for 4 hours or until beef cheekmeat reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF and meat is tender.
  4. Remove beef from broth and shred meat. Set aside. Strain broth and reserve.
  5. Soak corn husks in water until pliable; drain husks and pat dry.
  6. Combine remaining 10 guajillo chiles, chiles de arbol, pasilla chiles, ½ onion, remaining 2 garlic cloves and 4 cups water in a large saucepan; simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer chile mixture and 2 cups liquid from chile peppers to a blender; puree until smooth. Strain.
  7. Heat oil in a skillet. Add strained chile sauce, 2 cups reserved broth from cooked beef, remaining ½ tablespoon cumin, remaining 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer until chile sauce thickens. Combine ½ cup chile sauce with shredded beef. Reserve remaining sauce.
  8. In a bowl, combine masa mix, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Add lard, 2 cups warm chicken broth and ¼ cup chile sauce; blend until masa is light and fluffy.
  9. To assemble tamales: Spread a thin layer of masa over each husk, spoon shredded beef barbacoa filling down the center of masa, fold husk closed and tie with thin strip of corn husk. Repeat with remaining husks and filling.
  10. Add water to steamer pan. Line tamale steamer with corn husks, arrange tamales upright in steamer, top with corn husks, close lid and steam tamales for 45 minutes, or until masa pulls away from husks.
  11. Serve tamales topped with a drizzle of reserved chile sauce, tomatillo salsa and crumbled cotija cheese.