In many homes this holiday, tamales are a huge part of the Christmas menu. Whether you're making your own at home or picking up pre-made tamales, so much work goes into the preparation.
NBC 5 got a sneak peek into how the process works at Luna's Tortillas in Dallas.
Employees have worked overtime for five straight days to make tamales happen for so many families on Christmas day.
The corn is cooked on an open flame and then put through a large grinder to be turned into masa. They've been making hundreds of pounds per day of the tamale dough in the last week.
From here, it goes into Luna's homemade pork, chicken, beef and even spinach tamales, made from scratch in the kitchen. Another batch of plain, unprepared masa is made for those who want to make their own tamales at home.
We spoke to Luna's Tortillas owner, Fernando Luna, about his family celebrating 96 years of business.
"We’re quite proud. I’m third-generation, my grandma started the business and my parents worked hard all of their lives to build it to what it is now," he said. "Now, it’s my responsibility and my kids responsibility and their kids responsibility to keep it up to maintain what they started.”
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Tamales have become a long-standing tradition for Mexican families during Christmas time.
“It’s been a long-standing tradition for Mexican families, whether it lasts 10 to 15 years," Luna said. "And it’s every ethnic group. Everyone who comes to the door it has just grown tremendously over the years.”
Customers began lining up around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning to pick up pre-orders and walk-in orders of masa and tamales, just in time for the big dinners.
"It’s so important, tradition not having your parents around -- you just continue the tradition and hold a family together," said Linda Rincon, who came in to get pre-made spinach tamales. "It's too hard to make by myself!"
The shop is closed on Christmas day so all the employees can rest after all this hard work. The final estimate on the weight of tamales produced this holiday season: three tons.
But tamale season is far from over. Luna's will fire up the kitchen again later this week to continue cooking for the new year's rush. For more information, click here.