Sunday, July 5, 2009
Castleberry Brand Canned Beef Tamales
As you know from reading my blog, I am fascinated with canned food products of all sorts. From canned Haggis to canned butter and cheese I will try it all. I also have a great love for the tamale (see Pancho's Tamales and Mississippi Delta Hot Tamales). So when I found some canned tamales, care of the Castleberry brand, I had to give you all a review.
I was a little shocked by the nutritional facts on the back of the can. This can of tamales has 3 servings for a whopping total of 840 calories and 120% of your daily fat intake. Not that traditional tamales are exactly health food, what with the lard and all, but this seemed a little steep of a caloric price for the relatively small amount of food. I cracked the can open and was confronted with 6 corn roll style tamales.
The directions for stove top heating suggested simmering covered for 10 minutes over low heat. Pursuant to this I dumped them into a small sauce pan. I was a little surprised when the tamales held their can shape.
The tamales were covered in a viscous covering of grease and a thin tomato sauce flecked with chili powder. I knocked them apart with a fork and let them warm through.
The aroma of the cooking tamales suggested your run of the mill, processed meat product. Almost a corned beef-y smell with hints of spice. The sauce increased in volume during the cooking process which I chalked up to melting fat from within the beef center of the tamales.
When they were piping hot, I fished one out, put on a plate, removed the wax paper wrapper, cut in half, and dug in.
I was a little surprised by the ultra-thin layer of corn meal surrounding the beef filling. I figured a .99 cent can would be heavy on the starch as opposed to meat, but the beef filling made up the lion's share of these bad boys. I was struck by the fact that these, in fact, tasted very much like vaguely spicy Chef Boyardee canned raviolis or beefaroni. The meat had that familiar loose and unctuous quality to it. There was also a decidedly greasy mouth feel to the tamales, almost unsettling in its mouth coating fattiness. These are tamales only in the very loosest sense of the word. I can usually appreciate the down home decadence and cheesiness of some canned dishes that are otherwise of a more nuanced nature, but I could not find much to redeem these guys. Sorry all, I wanted to like these but they sucked.