I made tamales tonight. Actually it took most of the day to cook the meat. I adapted to the suggestions here and what was on the bag of corn meal.
So I cut up a 3 pound pork butt roast, tossing any fat in the waste bin. I cut the pork with a cleaver into 3 inch chunks and tossed them into a crock pot. On top of that I threw in 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs. I chopped up half an onion fine, added it along with 1 tsp of prepared chopped garlic, and 1 tsp cumin seed. Added water to cover the meat, and then cranked up the heat on the crock pot to high. Once it began to boil, I set the heat to medium and let simmer for 4 hours.
I couldn't find dried corn husks, so I used fresh ones. I went to the grocery store and bought the larges pieces of corn I could find. In fact there was a basket next to the corn full of husks from the produce guy, but I couldn't figure out a way to explain I wanted only the husks
After doing a couple ears of corn, I found the easiest way to get the husks off the corn without ripping them was to chop the ear at either end of the ear. You won't get extremely large husks this way, but they will peel right off without any ripping. Almost as easy as getting aluminum foil from the roll.
Once the meat was cooked, I drained the water and ripped the meat by hand into small strips. I know it sounds hard, but it only took a few minutes.
I then placed 1/3 cup of olive oil in a pan, added 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp ground black pepper, 2 tbsp ground cumin, and turned on the heat just to warm the pan. Mix this by hand into the meat mixture for a few minutes.
As for the corn filling, I combined 6 cups of corn meal with 6 cups of cold water and 3 tsp baking powder. I whipped up 3 sticks of butter and then whipped the butter into the corn meal mix.
Assembling the tamales was hard at first since I never had done it before. Basically, take a corn husk, and coat it with the corn meal mix. Spread 1 1/2 tbsp of the meat mix over the corn meal, and roll up the husk, Tuck one end of the husk, and place in a steamer. I used a 4 layer Oriental bamboo steam I had on hand. After you do a few, it makes sense. Don't expect to be a pro on the first dozen you do.
Once I filled up the steamer, I cooked the tamales for 1 1/2 hours over steam, adding water ever 15 minutes so the pot (in my case wok) didn't dry out.
These tamales came out tasting very good, and was impresed how well they came out for the novice, me