Jones Bacon and Duck Tamales

Cherrywood Bacon & Duck Tamales with Cherry Relish


Prep Time

Total Time

Gluten Free


1 hr 30 min

2 hr


This tamale recipe is a new take on Mexican comfort food. Filled with a spicy mixture of bacon and duck, they're served with a sweet and spicy relish.

Dry Aged Fully Cooked Bacon Slices

This recipe is made with

Dry Aged Cherrywood Smoked Bacon, Uncooked

Product Information

You can also make this recipe with

Dry Aged Hickory Smoked Bacon, Uncooked


4 quarts chicken stock, 6 pounds duck legs
2 pounds Jones Dairy Farm Dry Aged Cherrywood Bacon
2 1/4 cups corn oil, divided
6 tablespoons garlic powder, divided
2 tablespoons ground cumin, divided
7 tablespoons dark chili powder, divided
1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon table salt
2 pounds corn masa, 24 corn shucks, 1 bunch fresh chives
3 tablespoons sea salt, 3 tablespoons paprika
Corn shucks, Fresh chives, 3 dried ancho peppers
1 pound sweet cherries, frozen
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups carrots, diced, 2 cups corn, shucked
2 scallion bunches


Step 1
Bring chicken stock to a boil and cook duck legs for 40-60 minutes. Allow legs to cool slightly and reserve stock for masa.

Step 2
Cut bacon strips into 2-inch pieces and render (not too crispy), reserve rendered bacon fat. Take 1 cup cooked bacon and reserve for garnish. Next remove skin from duck legs and discard, then pull duck meat and shred it.

Step 3
Mix 1/4 cup corn oil, 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat, 3 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin, 4 tablespoons dark chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper and table salt in 8-inch sauté pan and warm over low heat (do not cook). Next pour mixture over duck and remaining bacon in medium bowl and toss until completely coated. Refrigerate meat mixture until ready to fill tamales.

Step 4
Bring stock to warm temp over low heat (do not boil). Put masa in large bowl and mix in sea salt, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 3 tablespoons dark chili powder, paprika, and 3 tablespoons garlic powder until fully incorporated. Next add remaining 2 cups of corn oil to masa/spice mixture and begin to slowly work in 2 quarts of stock, about one cup at a time, working mixture by hand to make dough. If mixture is too dry, continue to add broth 1 cup at a time until it is spread-able, like thick peanut butter. If it is too thin add more masa.

Step 5
Soak corn shucks in warm water for 1 hour or until soft. Carefully separate and pat shucks down with paper towel and fill each with 1/2 cup spread-able masa mixture. Cover bottom 2/3rds of each shuck leaving top 1/3rd and 1/2-inch along one side uncovered Lay shucks on sheet pan or cutting board as you go.

Step 6
Next evenly cover masa with 2-3 tablespoons of seasoned bacon and duck mixture. Then, starting on side where masa goes to edge, roll tamales all the way to the opposite side and fold the empty part over the top like an envelope – leaving flap side folded under (you can flatten tamales at this point, if you like).

Step 7

Cook tamales fold side down, packed horizontally in steamer or double boiler over burners, maintaining about 3/4 quart of water over 45-90 minutes or until masa is just firm and not raw (do not allow water to boil away). When done, remove all tamales and allow to cool on a sheet pan – or serve immediately (may be reheated in steamer or microwave). Chill or freeze finished tamales in plastic wrap for later use.

Step 8
To serve: Blanch 1 bunch fresh chives for use as ribbon when serving finished product. As an option - gently fold back shuck like a collar and tie a bow around each tamale. Sprinkle plate with reserved crushed bacon. Serve 2-3 tamales per plate with Cherry Ancho Relish.

Step 9
To make the Sweet Cherry Ancho Relish: Slice open ancho peppers, remove seeds, and toast on griddle until you see light wisps of smoke. Next place peppers in water and soak until they become fleshy (about 30 minutes). Remove and scrape flesh from skin with a spoon for use in relish (discard skin).

Step 10
Bring sweet cherries to room temp and drain, reserving liquid. Bring 12-inch sauté pan to medium high heat with vegetable oil and cook carrots, corn and scallions until fork tender. Add peppers and evenly combine. Next add sweet cherries and half their liquid, bring to boil and simmer until thick consistency is reached. Serve with Cherry Bacon and Duck Tamales.

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