5 pounds meat + 5 pounds masa = 5 dozen tamales
5Lb beef or pork cut into 2 inch chunks
Add to large pot, cover meat with water. To the meat and water, add 1T each cumin, chili powder, salt, 3 or 4 cloves chopped garlic, and half chopped onion. Cook covered for 21/2 to 3 hours. I use a pressure cooker and can cook 5 Lb meat in 45 minutes.
There are a few different grades of corn husks. Try to get the larger, more expensive ones. They are much easier to work with.
While meat is cooking, rinse and put corn husks in pot of hot water to soften. These need to be in hot water for a least one hour to soften.
When meat is tender, remove from pot. Shred meat with fork. You should have nearly 1/2 gallon of cooking liquid left from the meat.
In a large sauce pan on medium high heat, add one cup canola oil, and one cup flour. Stir constantly until flour starts to turn to a tan color. Add 1 cup chili powder, 1T cumin, and 1T salt. Stir for a minute or two. Add some cooking liquid to make a chili powder gravy. Add more liquid to get the right consistency. (Not too thick, not too thin). Add the shredded meat to the gravy, and stir until all mixed.
Use the "unprepared masa" that comes in a 5 lb package. You could use prepared masa, but it's more expensive and has lard as the fat. I prefer to use canola oil to make the tamales more healthy, and there's no discernable difference in the taste.
Remove the masa from wrap and put into a large bowl . Break into pieces.
Add 2T baking powder, 2T salt, and 2T chili powder. Add some warm cooking liquid and 3/4 cup canola oil. Starting on slow beat the masa with hand mixer. Turn mixer to high and beat for several minutes. To get the right consistency, continue to add liquid, and a little more oil. Taste, add more salt if needed. You want the masa to be like a thick cake batter.
Remove some corn husks and shake out most of the water.
I set up an assembly line on my counter top with the masa, meat, and corn husks.
I like to use a pastry cutter to spread the masa. Pick up some masa on the spreader, and
spread across husk, 5 inches down fron the top. Add 2T meat, and roll the husk. Pinch the bottom where the masa starts, and fold the bottom of husk. Wrap this in deli paper.
You want a ratio of 50% meat to 50% masa.
When the tamales are all assembled, stack in a large pot with a steamer tray in the bottom. Add water, cover, and steam on medium high for two hours. Continue to add a small amount of boiling water to the pot during steaming. Do not let the pot go dry. Tamales are done when the masa peels easily from the husk.