Delicious Deer Tamales Recipe | Taste the Wild

Have you ever had the pleasure of trying tamales made with wild game meat? If not, then you’re in for a treat. My deer tamales recipe is one that will leave your taste buds craving more. As a Florida hunting enthusiast and culinary expert, I have tested and perfected this recipe to showcase the best flavor of your wild game meat. Whether it’s venison or wild pork, this recipe will elevate your tamales game to a whole new level.

As much as I love traditional beef or pork tamales, there is something about adding wild game meat that takes it to another level. The rich, bold flavors from the meat complement the masa dough perfectly, creating a symphony of flavors in your mouth. And let’s not forget about the added health benefits of incorporating lean wild game meat into your diet.

So, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just looking to experiment with some new recipes, give my Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mike's Deer Tamales
Mike’s Deer Tamales

If you’re looking to shake up your traditional tamale recipe and try something new, then Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe is your perfect match. This recipe offers a unique twist on the classic Mexican dish, bringing together American game meat with classic Latin flavors. Here are just a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe.

Firstly, using deer meat gives these tamales an undeniable depth of flavor that you simply can’t replicate with beef or pork. Venison has a richer flavor profile compared to other meats, and the leaner texture lends well to the masa dough in the tamales.

Additionally, this recipe introduces other bold flavors through its seasoning choices. The combination of chili powder, ground cumin, tomato paste, and ancho chilies creates a nuanced and complex taste experience that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

But let’s not forget about the masa dough. Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe uses masa harina – a traditional corn flour grounded from hominy – combined with water and chicken broth to create a light and fluffy texture in each tamale. The baking powder adds extra fluffiness, making biting into them pure bliss.

Finally, this recipe isn’t for those who shy away from spice. The addition of chipotle peppers and adobo seasoning gives these tamales just enough heat without overpowering the other flavors. If you’re looking for hot tamales that pack a punch but can still be enjoyed by people who prefer milder dishes, this recipe won’t disappoint.

In summary, if you’re looking to serve wild game or any big game meat in an innovative way, then give these deer tamales a try! Produced using Florida hunting clubs’ finest game meat, this dish will not only leave everyone on your table wanting more but also enhance your culinary reputation as a wild game chef.

Ingredient List

 The aroma of slow-cooked venison in corn husks is unbeatable! πŸ΄πŸ‚πŸ
The aroma of slow-cooked venison in corn husks is unbeatable! πŸ΄πŸ‚πŸ

The Must-Have Ingredients

  • Corn Masa Dough: 4 cups masa harina, which is a special corn flour, and 2 cups hot water to make the masa dough. Be sure to use Maseca brand, as other brands can have different ratios or coarseness, resulting in varying textures of the finished tamales.

  • Meat: 2 lbs of deer burger (ratio meat-to-masa dough should be about 2:3). The best cut of meat to use for tamales is one that has enough fat, such as pork shoulder or beef chuck roast but ground venison is a great substitute if you are looking for a healthier option.

  • Ancho Chilies: 6 Ancho chilies (stems and seeds removed), 3/4 cup of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you can add more or less depending on your taste), and 2 tbsp ground cumin.

  • Broth: 4 cups of chicken broth

  • Other Spices and Seasonings: Baking Powder (1 tsp), Salt (1 tsp), Garlic cloves (6 minced), Tomato paste (1 small can), Sugar (1 tsp), Chili powder (1/2 tsp), Ground coriander (1 tsp) and Adobo Seasoning to taste.

The Balance-to-Taste Ingredients

Since Deer Tamales Recipe is a versatile recipe that you can modify to taste, here are some ingredients that you can add (or remove) to make the recipe your own:

  • Chillies: Serrano Chilies, Jalapeno Chilies or Habanero Chilies
  • Vegetables: carrots or bell pepper
  • Meat: Wild Pork or Beef
  • Broth: Vegetable Broth if you prefer vegetarian tamales

Where to Buy Unique Ingredients

You can usually find Maseca at any Mexican market or online retailers like Amazon. If you have trouble finding the ancho chilies, Wel Pac Vegetarian Foods has them sometimes in Asian markets. If you have a personal connection with Florida hunting clubs, then you could find the preferable meat there. If not, try contacting the nearest hunting club to look for your desired meat cuts.

The Recipe How-To

 This may seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it's worth it in the end. πŸ˜‹πŸ’ͺ🏽
This may seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end. πŸ˜‹πŸ’ͺ🏽

Preparing the Meat

Firstly, it’s essential to choose the best cut of meat to make delicious tamales. For this recipe, we are using 2 lbs of deer burger mixed with 1 pound of pork tamales. The ratio of meat to masa should be about 1:2.

To begin, soak 6 ancho chilies, remove their stems and seeds, and add them to a blender. Add 3/4 cup of canned chipotle peppers in adobo seasoning and blend until smooth. Taste the mixture and add more adobo seasoning if needed.

Now it’s time for the meat! In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the deer burger and pork tamales until done. Drain any excess fat, add the blended pepper mixture to the skillet, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Preparing the Masa

While the meat is cooking, prepare the masa dough by mixing 4 cups of masa harina, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups of warm water with 3 garlic cloves (minced) and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Add this water mixture slowly to the masa harina mixture and stir well until all ingredients are incorporated.

Add another cup of water or chicken broth as needed to make sure the masa dough is moist enough to spread thinly on your corn husks.

Assembling the Tamales

To assemble your tamales, you will need some corn husks. Look for them in Hispanic grocery stores or online. The husks must be rinsed with warm water before using to soften them up.

Take one corn husk at a time, spread two tablespoons of masa dough on it while leaving some space on top and bottom edges. Add two tablespoons of meat mixture and fold the husk’s sides towards the center, then roll up the husk tightly.


Now that your tamales are assembled, it’s time to cook them. You can steam them in a large pot with a steamer rack. Add enough water to reach below the steamer and place the tamales standing upright in the pot. Cover with a lid and let them steam for about 45 – 60 minutes.


Serve hot tamales with your favorite salsa or wild game gravy. These tamales go well with white rice, black beans, and roasted vegetables.

Enjoy your tasty homemade tamales!

Substitutions and Variations

 The keys to making these tamales absolutely perfect are patience and attention to detail. πŸ”‘πŸ‘€
The keys to making these tamales absolutely perfect are patience and attention to detail. πŸ”‘πŸ‘€

One of the great things about cooking is the flexibility and the ability to make substitutions and variations to cater to your personal preferences. While Mike’s Deer Tamales recipe delivers incredible flavors with its existing list of ingredients, there are a few swaps and tweaks you can make, depending on what’s available in your kitchen pantry or meat preference.

For instance, if deer meat is not available, or you prefer to use another type of meat instead, beef or pork would make excellent substitutes. You can even make this recipe with a combination of different meats. Experiment with using different cuts of meat as well, such as chicken or turkey, which will offer a unique flavor experience.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan but still want to enjoy tamales, then there are various substitutes that you can use as an alternative protein source. You can replace the deer meat with plant-based options such as tofu, tempeh, or walnuts. Instead of chicken broth, vegetable broth would serve as a perfect substitute.

For those who like their tamales extra spicy and hot, you can increase the heat level by adding some hot sauce or extra chili powder. If you want to turn down the spiciness level, reduce the amount of chili powder used in the recipe.

You can also add a twist by incorporating some additional ingredients into the filling. Shredded cheese would be a delicious addition to these venison tamales. Similarly, chopped jalapeΓ±os or diced bell peppers would add some crunch and heat.

Whether you’re looking for small tweaks or significant changes to this Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe, making these adaptations will ensure that this dish remains exciting and fun each time you cook it.

Serving and Pairing

 These tamales may be stuffed with venison, but they're filled with love! πŸ’•πŸ΄
These tamales may be stuffed with venison, but they’re filled with love! πŸ’•πŸ΄

When it comes to serving and pairing these delicious deer tamales, there are plenty of options to choose from. One of the best things about tamales is their versatility in terms of what they can be paired with. For this recipe, I recommend serving your tamales with a side of guacamole or sour cream for a simple yet flavorful addition.

If you want to take things up a notch, you could create a tasty salsa or pico de gallo to go alongside the tamales. The bright flavors of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime will pair perfectly with the rich and savory taste of the deer meat.

For those looking to serve wild game big game at their dinner table, these deer tamales are a wonderful option. They’re hearty and filling, making them perfect for any outdoor gathering or celebration. If you’re looking to create a full meal, consider pairing your tamales with rice and beans for a complete Latin-inspired feast.

If you want to get really creative, try using the masa dough recipe from this recipe article to make different types of tamales such as beef or pork tamales. This will add some variety to your spread and allow guests to try a few different types of the traditional Latin American dish.

Finally, let’s not forget about drinks. Cold beer pairs perfectly with spicy and flavorful dishes like these deer tamales. Or if you’re in the mood for something non-alcoholic, try making traditional Mexican horchata or jamaica tea for a refreshing and authentic accompaniment.

Regardless of how you choose to serve these delicious deer tamales, one thing is for sure: they’re guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Once you get the hang of assembling the tamales, it feels like second nature! πŸ™Œ
Once you get the hang of assembling the tamales, it feels like second nature! πŸ™Œ

Tamales are the perfect make-ahead dish. You can prepare them a few days in advance and then reheat them when you’re ready to serve. To store tamales, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in the refrigerator for up to four days.

If you want to freeze your tamales for later use, wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place them in a freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

To reheat tamales, the best method is to steam them. Place a steamer basket over boiling water and add the tamales to the basket. Cover the pot and steam for approximately 15 minutes until heated through.

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can also reheat your tamales in the microwave. Remove the plastic wrap or foil and place one or two tamales on a microwave-safe plate. Add a few tablespoons of water to the plate, cover it with another plate, and microwave on high for one minute. Check the tamale and heat it in additional 30-second increments until it’s heated through.

Remember that reheating tamales can be tough, and there’s a risk of drying out the masa dough if you overdo it. Always keep a watchful eye on your tamales while reheating them to ensure they stay moist and delicious.

Perfectly reheated deer tamales are an amazing treat!

Tips for Perfect Results

Now that you have all the ingredients prepped and your masa dough ready to go, it’s time to focus on creating the perfect deer tamales. Here are some tips that will make sure your tamales come out deliciously tender, flavorful and perfectly cooked.

1. Use the right ratio of meat to masa

The ideal ratio of meat to masa for tamales is 1:2, which means one pound of meat for every two cups of masa. This ensures that you have enough masa to hold the filling together while not overpowering its flavor.

2. Mix your masa well

Make sure to mix your masa dough until it becomes a smooth and even consistency. This ensures that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough, resulting in a consistently delicious tamale every time.

3. Choose the best cut of deer meat

The best cut of deer meat for tamales is tenderloin, as it is lean and tender. If you don’t have tenderloin available, use backstrap or any other lean cut.

4. Soak corn husks in hot water

Before using corn husks for wrapping the tamales, make sure to first soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes. This makes them pliable and easier to handle without breaking or tearing.

5. Steam tamales correctly

You can steam your tamales either in a steamer basket or in a slow cooker with a steamer rack. Make sure to stack them vertically with the open end facing upwards and keep some space between each tamale, so that steam can circulate properly and cook them evenly.

6. Don’t overstuff your tamales

While it may be tempting to fill your tamales generously with deer meat, vegetables or cheese, make sure not to overstuff them as it will cause them to burst while cooking.

7. Use authentic Mexican spices

To get the authentic flavor of Mexican tamales, use a combination of ground cumin, chili powder, and coriander in your meat filling.

By following these tips, you can create perfect deer tamales that are packed with flavor and will be a hit at any party.


As you prepare to make Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe, you might have some questions lingering in your mind about how to execute some of the steps or make some substitutions. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers that will help you achieve perfect results with minimal errors.

What is the secret to moist tamales?

When it comes to making scrumptious tamales, one should not hesitate to include a generous amount of fat. Lard is commonly used in Mexico to achieve the desired texture and flavor. However, if you prefer a vegetarian alternative, opting for softened butter or shortening could do the trick.

How many tamales does a 4.4 lb bag of masa make?

If you’re planning to make a large batch of tamales, you might be wondering how much masa harina you’ll need. For 100 tamales, you’ll require approximately 16 1/2 cups of masa harina. Alternatively, you can also use a 4.4 pound bag of Maseca.

What is the best cut of meat for tamales?

When making tamales, the ideal beef cut to use is brisket.

What is the ratio of meat to masa for tamales?

When making tamales or corn tortillas, the recommended ratio of masa to meat is 1:1. This means that for every pound of masa dough used, an equal amount of meat filling is added. The dough is then wrapped around the filling and steamed inside a corn husk. Corn masa dough is also the primary ingredient in making tortillas.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe is not only a delicious meal but also a unique way to enjoy wild game. Whether you are an experienced hunter or simply looking to try something new, this recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The combination of the well-seasoned meat and the masa dough is one that will leave you craving for more.

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of making tamales from scratch. With the help of this recipe, you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to make. You can even adjust the ratio of meat-to-masa to suit your preference.

Finally, once you’ve made the tamales, experiment with different ways to serve them. They pair well with a variety of sides and drinks, making them a versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any occasion. Try serving them with guacamole, sour cream, or even a chilled beer, and see which combination you prefer.

In essence, this recipe offers a unique opportunity to experience the taste of wild game in a new and exciting way. So why not give it a try and see what all the fuss is about? I guarantee that once you’ve tasted these mouth-watering tamales, you’ll be hooked.

Mike's Deer Tamales

Mike’s Deer Tamales Recipe

the best deer tamales i've eaten. quite a bit of work but believe me it's well worth it. I use deer bacon burger with green onion and cheese processed at a deer processer close by. regular deer burger can also be used.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 36 tamales
Calories 232 kcal



  • 2 lbs deer, burger
  • 6 ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 -4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo seasoning (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tbs.bacon drippings (unless using bacon burger)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • salt

tamale dough

  • 6 cups masa harina
  • 1 lb lard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 cups warm chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 (16 ounce) package corn husks, soaked in water for 2 hrs


  • 1:in large skillet or dutch oven,brown venison in bacon drippings.Add sugar,garlic,tomatoe paste and spices.
  • 2:meanwhile soak ancho chiles in boiling water until soft.Add chipotle peppers.
  • put anchos and chipotles with a small amount of reserved soaking liquid in food processor or blender and puree.
  • 3:Add pureed chiles and 6 cups water to meat mixture.
  • 4:cook until reduced by half.
  • 5:puree meat until smooth.Cook until all water is evaporated.Let meat cool.
  • 6:In large bowl beat lard with electric mixer until fluffy.
  • 7:In seperate bowl mix tamale mix with salt and baking powder.Add warm chicken broth and stir to combine.(Hands on works best).
  • 8:Add tamale mix to lard in batches and beat on high speed in between.Beat until spoonfull of mixture floats in glass of water.
  • To assemble:
  • 1:Spread dough on corn husk and fill with about 1 tbs. of meat along middle line of dough.Roll husk to enclose filling inside dough.Fold and tie small end to seal.
  • To cook:
  • 1:Place tamales on folded end in steamer.Tie bundles of 6 with twine to hold together.Steam for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • "ENJOY".

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 5143gCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 16.9gProtein: 8.9gFat: 14.6gSaturated Fat: 5.4gCholesterol: 33.4mgSodium: 280.2mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.4g
Keyword Deer, Meat, Mexican, Wild Game
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You



Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.