Helpful ReplyOn The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi

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scrumptiouschef
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2018/10/02 14:53:35 (permalink)

On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi

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post edited by scrumptiouschef - 2018/10/02 14:55:17
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 16:16:41 (permalink)
We passed through Clarksdale on our way home from NOLA several years ago.  Stopped in at Abe's for some good 'Que but had no idea there were several other Roadfoodworthy places in town.  A more leisurely, better researched trip is definitely in order.
 
Our only experience with Delta Tamales was at Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, MS.  We were sorely disappointed.  I know this will upset some diehard Roadfooders (before anyone gets really steamed, we also had a Steak Dinner with French Fries and it was fabulous), but it can't helped.  We've got a hefty Mexican population up here in Chicago, making all kinds of authentic regional Tamales.  Whether they're wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, we love 'em all, and ain't none of 'em anything like what they're serving at Doe's.
 
Everything about the Doe's Tamale was wrong in our estimation, from the paper wrapping, to the odd texture, to the...um, unique flavor.  I reckon if that's what you've always known as a Tamale, it's probably okay.  But coming from an area where South of the Border (the Rio Grande, not the Mason Dixon Line) style Tamales are the norm and in plentiful supply, Doe's version just left us deeply unimpressed and uninterested in trying any other Delta Style Tamales.
 
The day after our FANTASTIC Steak Dinner (except for the Tamales) at Doe's, we continued south to NOLA.  We stopped at a doughnut shop in Mississippi serving Tamales (might have been Shipley's, but some quick research doesn't indicate they serve tamales).  They had a sign with a disclaimer that read something to the effect of (my interpretation), Everybody has their own taste in tamales, these are ours and if you don't like them, that's your business, but we don't want to hear about it, get your tamales elsewhere.  Just reading that sign, after our Doe's disaster, kinda sealed the deal on our opinion of Delta Tamales up to this point.
 
Hick's and Ground Zero Blues Club look more like what we're used to and might be worth checking out if we're ever fortunate enough to be in the area.
 
Buddy
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 17:10:13 (permalink)
Eugene Hicks makes good tamales but they are radically different than the ones you get down in old Mexico. He said he experimented with masa back in the day but did not like the texture so he uses the Mississippi staple: white corn meal.
 
He's also not shy with the chile powder. His tamales are good and fiery. If you plan a Sunday trip to Clarksdale be aware that nearly every restaurant is closed. As are the clubs. We got really lucky and Mr Hicks unlocked his doors for us as he happened to be in the restaurant doing odd jobs.
post edited by scrumptiouschef - 2018/10/02 18:43:32
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 17:38:37 (permalink)
Buddy, you cannot compare Mississippi tamales to Mexican and points south tamales. They are two entirely different dishes. Having grown up with Mississippi tamales, (usually acquired from one of the many trucks that sold them on the Gulf Coast back in the day) I can tell ya, I like Mississippi's version better than the Latin one. I've had many Mexican ones over the decades, but they just usually do not have the standout flavour of our Southern ones. They're usually pretty bland, in comparison. Next time you're down that way make a few different stops for different versions and I think they'll win you over.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 18:47:58 (permalink)
I love the Mexican tamales, the centro-Americano tamales, the New Orleans tamales, and the Delta tamales. It's rare that I run into a bad tamal.
 
I'll be filing a report on Tortilleria la Unica in Memphis soon. They had excellent tamales.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 19:42:23 (permalink)
Tamales are a staple food in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines and I'm glad they made it north of the border.  I didn't understand for much of my life why tamales could feature so prominently in so many cuisines because all I had been exposed were the typical dry, machine extruded, rather tasteless tamales served at many a Tex-Mex restaurant.  When I first experienced a good (Tex-Mex) tamale, I got it immediately.
 
I love Tex-Mex and Mexican, the former a bit more than the latter but there are many varieties of tamales in Mexico.  I love Savadoran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Colombian and Cuban tamales, plus Venezuelan Hallacas and Puerto Rican tamales and pasteles - made with mashed plantain rather than masa.
 
I've had Delta tamales only once, and only two of them, off a buffet at a neighborhood bar.  I liked 'em.
 
I'm sure I would like Mr. Hicks tamales (and I know I like Mr. Hicks) and I want some of those Italian sausages, too.  I love sampling the wares of small town sausage makers.  Thanks for a great report, R.L.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/02 22:56:37 (permalink)
"Rich with beef, fat and red pepper, raspy with creamy, steamed cornmeal-I could easily take down a boarding house platter of these beauties."
 
I'd fight you for the last one.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/03 01:43:46 (permalink)
RBMan,
I completely understand that the southern style Tamales are different from the Latino version.  But just looking at Hick's version versus what we had at Doe's instills more confidence in the product.  I can live with a white corn meal Tamale in place of one made with masa, but a paper wrapping and...whatever that is sitting on the plate...just looks unappetizing.
 
OTOH, I recognize there's an "unfamiliarity factor" at play.
 
APOLOGIES to family and friends who have heard about my Awakening At Arthur Bryant's one too many times.  It bears relevance in this discussion, so if you don't want to hear it again, just skip to the end.
 
Having lived the first 20 years of my life consuming Chicago style BBQ (exclusively Ribs, Rib Tips, and Hot Links; all covered in a thick, sweet, sticky tomato based sauce), I absolutely hated my first experience with Arthur Bryant's iconic Kansas City 'Que.  The meat was seasoned differently, the sauce was obnoxiously sour and gritty.  I could barely consume two Ribs before giving up and swearing never to return.
 
Flash forward 20 years to a business trip in KC with my Dad.  I hadn't been back to Bryant's during that entire time.  Dad, having read about AB's in various travel publications, suggested we go there.  I tried dissuading him with the above information, but he insisted.  So we went.
 
It should be noted that in the interim 20 years I had visited dozens of other KC 'Que joints, most of which were less radically different from Chicago BBQ.  They allowed me to ease into KC 'Que Culture, so I became more familiar with the genre to the point of actually enjoying it a great deal.  Thus, my return to Arthur Bryant's was a revelation.  The sour, gritty sauce was a delight!  The Ribs and Burnt Ends (discovered during my KC 'Que education) were magnificent!  It was like falling in love with Barbecue all over again.  We then made Bryant's a regular stop for several years before we noticed a slip in quality.
 
The point is, Doe's Tamales may be so different from what I'm used to, it's nearly impossible for me to appreciate them.  But maybe experiencing Hick's, and others that are not so contradictory to the South of the Border Tamale I know and love, will allow me to relate and enjoy the Delta version.
 
Buddy
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/03 11:49:54 (permalink)
BayouCityNosh
Tamales are a staple food in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines and I'm glad they made it north of the border.  I didn't understand for much of my life why tamales could feature so prominently in so many cuisines because all I had been exposed were the typical dry, machine extruded, rather tasteless tamales served at many a Tex-Mex restaurant.  When I first experienced a good (Tex-Mex) tamale, I got it immediately.
 
I love Tex-Mex and Mexican, the former a bit more than the latter but there are many varieties of tamales in Mexico.  I love Savadoran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Colombian and Cuban tamales, plus Venezuelan Hallacas and Puerto Rican tamales and pasteles - made with mashed plantain rather than masa.
 
I've had Delta tamales only once, and only two of them, off a buffet at a neighborhood bar.  I liked 'em.
 
I'm sure I would like Mr. Hicks tamales (and I know I like Mr. Hicks) and I want some of those Italian sausages, too.  I love sampling the wares of small town sausage makers.  Thanks for a great report, R.L.


If you ever make your way out to Austin pop into Tamale House East, the doña in charge of the business has 56 years in the tamale making game, and it shows. The tamales there are the biggest I've ever encountered, and the little old ladies in the kitchen have a love of the craft.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/03 15:11:19 (permalink)
scrumptiouschef
BayouCityNosh
Tamales are a staple food in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines and I'm glad they made it north of the border.  I didn't understand for much of my life why tamales could feature so prominently in so many cuisines because all I had been exposed were the typical dry, machine extruded, rather tasteless tamales served at many a Tex-Mex restaurant.  When I first experienced a good (Tex-Mex) tamale, I got it immediately.
 
I love Tex-Mex and Mexican, the former a bit more than the latter but there are many varieties of tamales in Mexico.  I love Savadoran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Colombian and Cuban tamales, plus Venezuelan Hallacas and Puerto Rican tamales and pasteles - made with mashed plantain rather than masa.
 
I've had Delta tamales only once, and only two of them, off a buffet at a neighborhood bar.  I liked 'em.
 
I'm sure I would like Mr. Hicks tamales (and I know I like Mr. Hicks) and I want some of those Italian sausages, too.  I love sampling the wares of small town sausage makers.  Thanks for a great report, R.L.


If you ever make your way out to Austin pop into Tamale House East, the doña in charge of the business has 56 years in the tamale making game, and it shows. The tamales there are the biggest I've ever encountered, and the little old ladies in the kitchen have a love of the craft.


Thanks for the tip.  Food looks good but hey, those tamales aren't so big. Tamales Dona Tere here (there's a location near me) specializes in Mexico City style tamales which are the size of 4 or 5 typical Tex-Mex tamales.  They have a very dense masa and very little filling.  They take some getting used to.  If you get them fresh out of the steamer they can be awesome but if they're just keeping them warm the texture is reminiscent of wet Texas beach sand!  It's not my favorite style of tamale.
 
But then there are the plate sized nacatamals of Nicaragua and similar sized Colombian tamales.  The latter may include a whole chicken leg, bone in, and a pork rib, bone in but with the tips trimmed, plus raisins, olives, and nuts.
 
Once I get past some current health issues I plan to do some traveling this fall, out to Central Tx to see what's going on and up to DFW to sample some chili.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/03 17:15:10 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby BayouCityNosh 2018/10/04 21:28:24
A lady here in New Orleans makes Honduran tamales that have entire chicken legs in them. Bone in. Takes a little getting used to but her masa is the real star of her cuisine. It's cloud-like.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/04 21:38:35 (permalink)
I've eaten a lot of Honduran food (all here in Houston, never been to any of these Central or South American countries) but I can't remember ever encountering tamales.  My favorite Honduran dish is a baleada - but of course, being from Texas I like anything with a thick, warm, fresh flour tortilla!  Beats a Salvadoran pupusa anytime.
 
The other unfortunate food that stands out is the 50/50 mix of ketchup and mayo that is slathered on everything.  One restauranteur admitted Hondurans love the stuff.  I loved her short-lived place because she was restrained in her usage of it.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/04 21:46:44 (permalink)
Hondurans and Argentinians all love Salsa Golf! That mayo/ketchup mix is great! I use it on my tots all the time.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 00:54:57 (permalink)
Funny. The Honduran lady who makes the tamales eats hers with ketchup, and acts like it's normal.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 07:23:42 (permalink)
Ketchup on a tamale -- that's great, just great!  I'll have to peruse the menus of the Honduran places and see if I can find some tamales.  Most of what we have are mobile units, only a few brick and mortar.  
 
Not just Hondurans and Argentinians - salsa golf is popular in lots of South American countries I think.  Wasn't it concocted in Montevideo?  Or maybe I'm thinking of Salsa Caruso.  I encountered it on a shrimp cocktail at a Colombian restaurant and said to myself 'Hey, I know what this is.'  
 
Also on the condiments bar at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Burgers as Freddy's Fry Sauce.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 11:13:09 (permalink)
Is that ketchup/mayonnaise blend pretty much fry sauce?
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 11:44:24 (permalink)
I loved Hicks as is and Abe's when smothered in chili and onions.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 13:51:59 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby BayouCityNosh 2018/10/05 20:56:21
BayouCityNosh
Ketchup on a tamale -- that's great, just great!  I'll have to peruse the menus of the Honduran places and see if I can find some tamales.  Most of what we have are mobile units, only a few brick and mortar.  
 
Not just Hondurans and Argentinians - salsa golf is popular in lots of South American countries I think.  Wasn't it concocted in Montevideo?  Or maybe I'm thinking of Salsa Caruso.  I encountered it on a shrimp cocktail at a Colombian restaurant and said to myself 'Hey, I know what this is.'  
 
Also on the condiments bar at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Burgers as Freddy's Fry Sauce.


I think it was invented in Jackson, Mississippi.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 15:10:17 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby BayouCityNosh 2018/10/05 20:58:59
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Ketchup on a tamale -- that's great, just great!  I'll have to peruse the menus of the Honduran places and see if I can find some tamales.  Most of what we have are mobile units, only a few brick and mortar.  
 
Not just Hondurans and Argentinians - salsa golf is popular in lots of South American countries I think.  Wasn't it concocted in Montevideo?  Or maybe I'm thinking of Salsa Caruso.  I encountered it on a shrimp cocktail at a Colombian restaurant and said to myself 'Hey, I know what this is.'  
 
Also on the condiments bar at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Burgers as Freddy's Fry Sauce.


I think it was invented in Jackson, Mississippi.


I think you're thinking of Comeback Sauce. It was a Jackson invention, but it's much more complicated a recipe than Fry Sauce or Salsa Golf. It's a lot tastier, too!
https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/comeback-sauce
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 15:16:14 (permalink)
Thank you for that recipe. It does look more to my taste. Not complicated just a few more  seasonings to give it more zip.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 15:29:38 (permalink)
mlm
Thank you for that recipe. It does look more to my taste. Not complicated just a few more  seasonings to give it more zip.


You're welcome. Comeback Sauce is some kind of good! I'm betting you'll like it! Around Jackson, MS just about every non-chain restaurant has a version of it.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 17:02:56 (permalink)
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Ketchup on a tamale -- that's great, just great!  I'll have to peruse the menus of the Honduran places and see if I can find some tamales.  Most of what we have are mobile units, only a few brick and mortar.  
 
Not just Hondurans and Argentinians - salsa golf is popular in lots of South American countries I think.  Wasn't it concocted in Montevideo?  Or maybe I'm thinking of Salsa Caruso.  I encountered it on a shrimp cocktail at a Colombian restaurant and said to myself 'Hey, I know what this is.'  
 
Also on the condiments bar at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Burgers as Freddy's Fry Sauce.


I think it was invented in Jackson, Mississippi.


I think you're thinking of Comeback Sauce. It was a Jackson invention, but it's much more complicated a recipe than Fry Sauce or Salsa Golf. It's a lot tastier, too!
https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/comeback-sauce


Oops, forgot to use the sarcasm font.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 21:37:28 (permalink)
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BayouCityNosh
Ketchup on a tamale -- that's great, just great!  I'll have to peruse the menus of the Honduran places and see if I can find some tamales.  Most of what we have are mobile units, only a few brick and mortar.  
 
Not just Hondurans and Argentinians - salsa golf is popular in lots of South American countries I think.  Wasn't it concocted in Montevideo?  Or maybe I'm thinking of Salsa Caruso.  I encountered it on a shrimp cocktail at a Colombian restaurant and said to myself 'Hey, I know what this is.'  
 
Also on the condiments bar at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Burgers as Freddy's Fry Sauce.


I think it was invented in Jackson, Mississippi.


I think you're thinking of Comeback Sauce. It was a Jackson invention, but it's much more complicated a recipe than Fry Sauce or Salsa Golf. It's a lot tastier, too!



Comeback sauce is a new one on me.  Thanks for the recipe.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/05 23:47:11 (permalink)
It's a pretty common sauce here in New Orleans, especially after the fried chicken phenomenon swept the city a couple years ago. Apparently if you don't have a fried chicken sandwich on your menu you may as well not bother opening up.
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/06 00:01:23 (permalink)
Is it the NOLA version of Nashville Hot, or some other iteration?
 
Buddy
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Re: On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Hicks' Hot Tamales In Clarksdale Mississippi 2018/10/06 10:16:27 (permalink)
Oh there's a bunch of them. There was a really cool pop up called Ring of Fire that was doing my favorite one but they have disappeared. Simone's Market near the Riverbend has a good one, she smokes and then fries the bird. It's a trend, and of course Heard D'at Kitchen continues making the best fried chicken po boy in town.
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