I am looking for ways to to cook large quantities of Tamales but I don't have a Tamale Steamer. Anyone do this before with other standard kitchen gear? I would rather not cook them in batches as the recipes call for 2-3 hours worth of steaming...
Alton Brown recommends steaming them right in a normal tall pot with a steamer insert (your typical expanding/contracting one many people have on hand), directly in their husks. Basically, you put a couple inches of water in, and then a steamer insert, and the tamales (in the husks) go on top of the steamer.
You can find his recipe/method here.
You can also watch the episode on YouTube, go to about 4:45 in to see the tamales in the pot.
If you don't have a steamer insert of any kind, I would imagine you could fashion something out of aluminum foil without much problem. The most important thing is that you keep the tamales out of the water. In a pinch, an upside-down colander would work if you have a pot that's large enough to hold it.
Another (very low-tech) option is this hack, that basically uses a disposable aluminum pan to create the steamer/upside-down colander part of the rig. This seems like a pretty easy, straightforward solution.
Edit: as Michael points out in the comments, this seems like it could be a huge mess. I would recommend getting a disposable pie pan that's just smaller than your pot, poking holes in that, and putting it upside down in the pot like a steamer insert - seems a lot safer and more efficient than a large rectangle on top of the pot!
I used a roasting pan with a rack. I filled pan with water, put tamales on rack and covered with foil. I used 400 degrees for an hour and did twelve, but could have fit a bit more.
My husband stole my cookie racks and rigged them in his giant stock pot uses lots of foil and Saran wraps the lid on for a good steam seal and cooks about 300 tamales at a time in a few hours.