4 Best Beef For Tamales: Are Beef Tamales Good?

beef for tamales

Does it matter what type of beef you use in the tamales’ fillings? The answer is yes.

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But don’t worry, this article will tell you all about beef for tamales and how to choose the best cut for it.

Let’s check it out!

How to choose beef for tamales?

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that can be made from different kinds of meat.

Beef is one of the delicious choices for tamales’ fillings.

However, in order to make the best tamale, your first step is to choose a good cut of beef.

Refer to our tips below so that you can buy the best beef for tamales without any fuss:

1. The texture of the meat doesn’t really matter

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Since the meat in a tamale recipe is often ground, the texture of the meat isn’t really a big deal at all.

For example, a steak recipe often calls for a tender cut of beef, and a slow-cooking dish is best with a tough cut.

To make tamales, beef is typically ground and simmered for a certain period of time.

It will be fine to opt for either a tender cut or a tough cut.

However, our suggestion is that in this case, a tough cut is enough to result in a delicious dish that is juicy, tender, and flavorful.

It is often more affordable than a tender counterpart.

2. Choose a cut with sufficient marbling fat

Another tip to choose beef for tamales is to stick with a cut with a good marbling fat content.

This will help the ground beef end up juicier and more flavorful.

If you have already purchased a lean cut of beef, it is better to add some fat trims to the ground mixture to achieve the same consistency.

3. Select a fresh cut of beef for a fresher and more flavorful taste 

Don’t forget that no matter what cut of beef you are going to buy, it should be a fresh cut instead of stale or frozen ones.

Fresh cuts of beef produce a better flavor and texture, and it is also healthier for you.

When looking for beef on the market, buy a cut without any weird identification like dark spots or an off smell.

4. Beef for tamales can be ground or sliced into strips

The filling of tamales is typically ground beef, but it can also be strips of beef.

Therefore, you can choose to buy fresh pre-ground beef or a whole cut of beef so that you can process it per your preference.

Best beef for tamales

We have provided you with a guide to choosing beef for tamales.

However, what cuts of beef should you opt for? Below are some of the most common and affordable cuts that are ideal for making tamales:

1. Chuck roast

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Chuck roast is a top choice for ground beef.

Therefore, this cut is what first comes to our mind when choosing a beef cut for tamales.

Chuck roast is a tough cut that is taken from the upper shoulder section of the cow.

It is affordable, flavorful, and prized for its great perfect marbling fat that can be cooked in different ways.

2. Brisket

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Brisket is one of the popular cuts that is typically used for making corned beef or pastrami.

However, it can be great for making tamales too.

Brisket comes from the chest area of the cow.

This cut is relatively tough and should be cooked for a long period of time.

3. Skirt steak

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Skirt steak is cut from below the ribs and it is relatively lean with a lot of flavors.

Most people think it is tough, but when cooked properly, skirt steak can be tender and delicious.

It should be cooked to medium-rare or medium for the best consistency.

However, ground skirt steak can be easily cooked without worrying about being tough or dry.

4. Flank steak

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You can also opt for a flank steak cut for making tamales.

Flank steak is an economical way to add protein to your diet.

It is typically lean but can become juicy and tender when properly cooked.

A flank steak is prized for its flavorful taste without breaking your budget.

When cooking flank steak for tamales, it is best to mix it with some additional fat to result in juicy ground beef.

Flank steak can also be thinly sliced into strips or pieces before cooking in a tamale recipe instead of grinding.

The bottom line

Different cuts of beef might result in distinctions in the flavor and texture of your tamales.

Hopefully, our post has helped you know some tips to choose beef for tamales as well as the most common cuts that are favored in this Mexican recipe.

Make sure that the meat is cooked thoroughly by simmering for hours in corn leaves.

Happy cooking!