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Tamale Spread

McClard's of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is best known for barbecue; but many customers come for a spread. That's the name for a plate of hot tamales topped with barbecue sauce-sopped chopped smoked pork shreds, beans, crisp Fritos chips, raw onions, and shredded orange cheese. This recipe is our version of the Dixie-Mex kaleidoscope.

Recipe Source: McClard's

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6


1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound lean ground chuck OR 1 pound cooked, shredded pork shoulder
2 or more cups barbecue sauce of choice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, washed and drained
15-25 cooked tamales (depending on size: enough to fully cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
12 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Fritos as garnish


  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in cooking oil in a Dutch oven. If using ground chuck, add it and cook it until well-browned, stirring to break up the meat. Drain excess oil. If using shredded pork barbecue, set it aside and continue with recipe as follows.
  2. Add the barbecue sauce, salt, chili powder, pepper flakes, and cumin to the Dutch oven. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture gets too dry, add more barbecue sauce to keep it moist. Add the beans. If using pork shoulder, add it now. Simmer, partially covered, 7 minutes more.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Butter a deep 9x13 baking pan or casserole. Remove tamales from their husks and put a dense layer of them at the bottom of the casserole pan. Top the tamales with the chili, then the onions, then the cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until the cheese is starting to melt.
  5. Remove from oven and garnish with Fritos.
Recipe photo of Tamale Spread

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