Thanks everyone. The key is really in the masa. I was going to try the Maseca(dry powder) this year, but decided against it cause I didn't want to mess em up after all that work. I bought the prepared masa, but I still added more shortening and made sure I blended it more than well enough with the hand held mixer. Really the idea is to have enough fat in the masa so it doesn't dry up and make for a "cakey" brittle tamale. Even with both of these batches, there was a bit of stickage when I would unwrap them. But once they were reheated the fat helped them slide outta the husk nicely. It also helps to have some fat in the fillings so it aides in moisture. Tamales aren't the healthiest of foods because they require a good bit of fat so they turn out right. Probably why we only have em once a year!!
Aside from the masa, the rest is just a good bit of work.
A few tips, soak the husks for 24 hours at least. Lastly, have fun and get creative with the fillings. I wan to make another batch for New Year's Eve. I want to make some sweet ones and do something different like a chicken parma filling or a hot chicken curry filling.
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My BEST Compliment......"You're a good cooker, Dad!"--My Son :)
Miss You, Marty and Bull! RIP