Steamy Sauna Time:
Now it is time to assemble the tamales and get them in the steam.
Drain some of our corn husks and unroll them. Hold one in your hand and, using your silicon spatual or similar tool, smear about ¼ cup of masa dough onto the husk. You want to cover the 2/3 of the husk toward the wider end of the husk. Leave some of the husk at the top without dough on it. (see photo)
Now take some of the meat in your hand and squeeze. Place meat in middle of the masa dough in your husk. Roll from the bottom end up so that the masa dough encircles the meat and the roll finished with the un-doughed end of the husk.
Now take the narrow end of the husk, without the masa, and fold it up against the tamale. Set it on the counter with the tamale sitting on its tail, so that it doesn’t unroll. Repeat with the rest of the tamales.
Get your large steaming vessel on the stove with water and heat. You want the steaming water to come close to the bottom of the steaming basket, but not so close that you’re boiling the tamales. Fill the steaming basket with your tamales on end. If you have to steam several batches and you get to one that doesn’t completely fill the basket, you can use an upside down glass jar to fill up some of the space. Lower into the steam.
The tamales need to steam for at least 2 hours. Check the water level ever so often to make sure that it doesn’t run dry. You want to avoid this at all costs. Add water as necessary. After 2 hours, you can take a tamale out and test it. The masa dough should be completely cooked. If it is still gooey and raw, continue to steam for another 30 minutes and check again.
Leftover tamales can be carefully wrapped and frozen for later snacks. Just take a few of the frozen tamales, wrap in a damp paper towel and place in the microwave.