Spicy Pork “Barba-Cola” Tamales with La Morena Chipotle Peppers and Coca-Cola

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When I think of the Holidays here in Southern California, I think of a few things – actually getting to wear boots and sweaters for a few weeks, extravagant tree-lighting ceremonies, and an abundance of delicious tamales.

Pork Barba-cola tamales

Tamales are known as a very labor-intensive food item. From slowly cooking the filling meat to a tender perfection, to hand kneading the masa dough and letting it rest, to carefully wrapping the tasty little packages in corn husks, there is a lot of work and a lot of love that goes into making them. That’s why it’s such a wonderful gift to receive when someone gives you a batch of tamales. You know that a lot of time and energy went into making them.

Traditionally, tamales are usually made on Christmas Eve, with the tamale-prep going late into the night, and the finished product finally being ready to eat on Christmas Day. The filling for these tamales are slow-cooked over night in the crock pot, and with the filling made ahead of time, I like to invite a few friends over to help with the assembly. It goes much faster, and everyone is happy because the end result is delicious tamales!

El Super Entrance

To make these, I first headed to El Super in Santa Ana to get my ingredients. There are a few must-haves for me, and El Super is my favorite place to pick them up. El Super is a Southern California company, headquartered in Paramount. The company opened it’s first California store in 1997, and has since expanded to Nevada and Arizona as well.

El Super Carniceria

Their Carniceria has an amazing selection of different cuts of meat, and that’s where I pick up my very large piece of pierna de puerco para tamales, AKA a beautiful boneless pork leg that makes for some awesome tamale filling.

pierna de puerco el super market

To made this pork filling amazing in flavor and tenderness, I also picked up a few secret ingredients: La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, and Coca-Cola.

la morena and coca cola at el super market

There is actually an in-store offer at El Super going on right now as well, when you buy one 7.5oz Mini Can or 6 pack PET bottles of any Coca-Cola brand and one La Morena product, you’ll receive $0.50 off.

La Morena and coca cola deal at El Super

The sooner you start your pork in the crock pot, the sooner you will have tamales. This recipe is for a cut of pork thats around 10 lbs or so, and it’s incredibly easy.

Pork Barba-cola Tamales Ingredients

Start by emptying two 7 oz (or one 13 oz if you can’t find those) cans of La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce into a bowl. To that, add 1/2 a Tablespoon of chile powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 a Tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon of ground pepper.

La Morena Chipotle Peppers and Spices

Add one 7.5 oz mini can of Coca-Cola, and mix it all together.

Pork Barba-Cola Sauce ingredients

Once your sauce is nice and mixed, pour into the crock pot, right on top of the pork. Don’t worry about the whole chipotle peppers, we will be dealing with that later.

Pork Barba-cola in the crock pot

Let your pork cook overnight, for at least 12 hours. The Coca-Cola helps to make it incredibly tender, and the La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce have amazing, authentic flavor.

Fork tender barba-cola pork

Remove your fork-tender pork from the crock pot and set aside. You may need to remove it in pieces, very carefully, as it’s going to fall apart. Let the sauce that remains in the crock pot cool a little bit, then skim off the fat, blend, and add to your shredded pork. Now your filling is ready.

The next step is to prepare your masa dough. You can buy already prepared masa dough, or make it yourself, following the directions on the packaging.

Masa dough for tamales

The finished dough should be soft and spreadable but not too runny. Let it rest for at least an hour before you begin the tamale prep. You’ll also need to soak your corn husks for at least 20 minutes in hot water.

Tamale Tip: When pulling your corn husks out of the water, leave your hands wet, and it will help keep the masa dough from sticking to them.

Getting ready to prep tamales

To assemble your tamales, start by scooping about 1/4 cup or so of the masa dough onto the corn husk and flatten it out into a rectangle shape by patting it with wet hands.

Making tamales step 1

Next, place a spoonful of your filling right in the center, on top of the masa dough, and top with a few slices of La Morena Sliced Green Pickled Jalapeños.

making tamales step 2

Now roll up your corn husk, trying to make sure that both side of the masa dough touch each other to surround the filling, fold up the small end of the husk, and tie with a strip of husk. If your husk rips or you have a hard time getting the bottom to stay folded, just wrap another husk around the whole thing and tie it closed.

making tamales step 4

Repeat the process, until you’ve made all the tamales you can. Fill up a steamer basket with tamales, and steam them for 45 minutes to an hour, until the masa dough separates easily from the husks.

making tamales step 5

Let them cool slightly until they’re a little firmer, and enjoy!

spicy pork barba cola tamales

Check out more amazing recipes using La Morena products, here!

About Angela Bishop

Angela is a Florida transplant who has been living in Orange County since 2004. She loves music, driving on the freeway (even in the SoCal traffic), trying new foods, and traveling near and far. When she’s not covering local events, she’s traveling around with her crazy family and writing about it over on http://thebiswolds.com.


  1. What a beautiful recipe indeed tamales are a labor of love and receiving them as a gift is the best thing ever. Many thanks for participating in this campaign #client

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