Red Chile Brisket Tamales

How to make Red Chile Brisket Tamales

Chef Tom fires up the Kamado Joe Classic III ceramic charcoal grill for Red Chile Brisket Tamales featuring smoked-then-braised shredded beef filling wrapped in beef tallow masa and corn husks, steamed until perfectly tender!

Red Chile Brisket Tamales

Yield: About 30 servings



For the braise:

  • 1 white onion, large dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts unsalted beef stock
  • 4 pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 chipotle chiles, stems and seeds removed


For the masa:



Build a lump charcoal bed of coals in your Kamado Joe Classic III Ceramic Charcoal Grill. Set up the grill for smoking with the SloRoller in place. Stabilize the temperature at 250ºF.


Season the cubed brisket with Cattleman’s Grill Mexicano Seasoning and Killer Hogs TX Brisket Rub, using the Cornhusker Kitchen Spray Duck Fat as a binder.


Add 1-2 fist sized chunks of hickory smoking wood to the coal bed.


Space out the cubed brisket on the grill grate. Smoke at 250ºF-300ºF until a dark bark is formed on the surface, about 1.5 - 2 hours. Remove the brisket from the grill.


Remove the plate from the top of the SloRoller to all for a more direct grilling setup. Add more lump charcoal to the existing coal bed, then close up the grill and stabilize the temperature at 350ºF - 400ºF.


In a Lodge 7 Quart Dutch Oven, combine the smoked brisket, white onion, garlic, bay leaf and 2 quarts beef stock. Cover with a lid, and transfer to the grill.


Allow the braise to simmer for one hour, then add the dried chiles. Keep covered and cook until the brisket is fork tender and ready to shred, about 45-60 minutes more.


Remove the dutch oven from the grill. Remove the cubed brisket from the dutch oven, taking care to leave behind the chiles and onions. Transfer the braise mixture to the Vitamix Blender. Puree the braise mixture to form a chile paste. Set aside.


Shred the cubed brisket by hand, with forks, or transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and shred using the paddle attachment over medium low speed. Add the chile paste to the shredded brisket, to desired consistency (you may not need all of the chile paste - save excess for future enchiladas).


Taste the red chile brisket mixture and adjust seasoning with lime juice and Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Sea Salt, to taste. Cool the mixture, at least to room temperature, or even overnight in the refrigerator.


To make the masa, place the tallow in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk vigorously by hand until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the masa harina and Jacobsen Salt Co. Black Garlic Sea Salt, Mix by hand until a crumbly mixture is formed. Add the chicken stock and mix by hand until a paste is formed. Continue to knead the paste nay hand. The masa is done when the mixture no longer sticks to a clean hand when picked up. You can also do the water test. Drop a small ball of the masa in a glass of room temperature water. The ball of masa should float. If it sinks, you need to add more tallow to the mixture.

You might also enjoy: Christmas Enchiladas

To assemble the tamales, place 1/4 cup of the masa on the smooth side of a soaked corn husk. Spread into a thin layer at the wide end of the husk, about 5” x 5” area that butts up right to the end of the wide end of the husk.


Place 1/4 cup of the red chile brisket filling on top of the masa, formed into a log in the center. Wrap the husk/masa to enclose the filling. Pinch at the smaller end of the husk, roll tight and fold the excess husk at the smaller end over to the open top. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have about 30 tamales.


Stand the tamales upright in a steamer pot or stock pot with a rack to hold the tamales above the water. Fill with about 1” of water. Cover the top with more corn husks and/or foil. Top with a lid. Return to the grill (400ºF) or cook on the stove top or induction burner for 1 hour.


Remove one tamal and let cool for 5 minutes. Unwrap and taste. The masa should easily free itself from the husk and be tender. If the masa sticks to the husk you may need to steam the tamales longer.


Serve with extra red chile sauce for dipping.


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