Smoked Pork Achiote Tamales

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Just this past weekend we had our annual tamale day!

If you do not know what that is you can check out our post from last year to figure out what you have been missing. Also there is a recipe for the most traditional tamale you can find, red chili pork.

This time we did 6 different kinds of tamales.

One of our favorites turned out to be the smoked achiote and lime pork.

I would be lying if I said I had a plan for this recipe when I started it.

The idea was simple. The results AMAZING!

First I trimmed and broke down an 8# pork butt into 2-3″ cubes.

Pork cut up into chunks

And made a simple slurry/marinade of achiote or annatto paste (I used 1/2 the box):

Annatto Paste

6 packets of Sazon Goya with Coriander and Annatto:

Sazon Goya

and the juice of 2 limes:

Two Limes

It turned out looking something like this (only less blurry):

Annatto and Lime Marinade

I put the cubes of pork in a large zip-lock bag and poured the marinade over it. Sealed the bag and massaged the marinade into the cubes till they were good and covered. Then I put it in the fridge to sit overnight.

The next day I set the smoker to 250° (you could run at 225° on a beautiful balmy day, but it was FREEZING and windy that day so 250° won out) and poured the pork cubes out into a pan in a single layer.

Annatto Pork

And placed them on the smoker.

I patiently waited till they came up to an internal temp of 160°. Then covered till they reached an internal temperature of 195°. And they were done!

Don’t they look good?

Smoked Pork Annatto

Let it cool so our hands didn’t burn and then we shredded it.

Shredded Smoked Annatto and Lime Pork

Now if you wanted to you could probably stop here and make tacos out of the stuff and be pretty darn happy! Maybe make some jalapeno coleslaw to go with it… Mmmm!

But we were prepping for tamale day so to the sauce we went. This paired PERFECTLY with a verde (green) chili sauce.

For the Verde Sauce you need:

Cooking oil
1/2 cup onion chopped roughly
4 cloves garlic
2 cups of Anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped roughly
3 jalapeno chilies seeded and chopped roughly
1 tablespoon flour (I use Wondra)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, saute the onion and peppers in the oil over medium heat, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour, cumin, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat while stirring, about 3 minutes.

Green Chili Sauce

Stir in the stock and tomatoes along with their juices and simmer for 10 minutes.

Green chilies and tomatoes

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. With your hand blender or in a blender pulse a few times to beak up the big pieces but do not liquefy. You want a slightly chunky sauce.

Green Chili Sauce

Chill till needed.

The day of the most awesome tamale making we took the green sauce and mixed it in with the pulled pork. You want to get the pork good and covered. And then you get to work on making the tamales.

(If you go back to that first tamale post, I left you instructions on how to do just that, as well as how to cook up these tasty tamales!)

By the way. Between the lot of us, we each walked away with over 100 tamales in all different flavors. I’d say tamale day was a tasty success.

Pan o' tamales


Meet Jeff & Heather. The dysfunctional duo that make up the cooking team of He Cooks She Cooks. They have a weakness for feel good, down to earth, amazingly tasty eats that almost always include the addition of beer. From growing their own tomatoes to brewing their own beer, they like to cook from scratch as much as possible. When they aren't feeding their friends they are geeks of the computer kind. They share their home with Bacon the lovebird, the insane kitten duo of Voodoo & Hops, and a motley bunch of friends who won't stop drinking all their good beer. They know what's important. Love. Food. Beer.
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