In a world where there seems to be a lot of craziness, occasionally, Providence wins. Take today, for instance.
This morning, while taking our son to day care (via the same route we have been taking for nearly 2 years), we passed the gas station sign we’ve been passing for awhile: “Suck the Shuck Tamales, 11AM – 8PM.” This time, the shucks stuck with us, and a few hours later, while debating our food options at lunch time, I mentioned those tamales. We decided to give them a shot. Providence smiled.
Now, you have to understand, neither my wife nor I are gas station food kind of people. We might stop for the occasional fountain drink and some energy food (read: candy bars), but to eat a meal from a gas station is a true rarity for us. So we walked into the gas station and walked around the corner and met Thomas and Mary Jordan. If you know me, you’ll quickly realize that I’m into the story behind the experience. Whether I’m making up a reason the crazy driver just cut me off (in a hurry to see a dying relative?) or wondering why the lady in the grocery store seems so happy to be grocery shopping (5 kids at home with her husband, and she’s having a private moment choosing her coffee?), I am probably observing and making up a backstory.
When it comes to good food, a good backstory makes it that much better. Anyone can learn and practice till they can cook something expertly, but loving what you do—and wanting to share that love with everyone else—is a different matter altogether.
You see, the backstory for Suck the Shuck is that Thomas Jordan has been working on perfecting his recipe for tamales since he was 18 and living in Benoit, Mississippi. Now, I’m not sure exactly how old Thomas is, but his tamales taste like they have a lifetime of experience in them. His time as a Chicago restaurateur, running his own award-winning barbeque shop (selling tamales on the side), through his career as a banker, to his return back to his home state of Mississippi, bringing his wife of 40-odd years with him, have all shaped the backstory and, most importantly, the tamales. He has lived a life of rich experiences, and that richness is perfectly modeled in his excellent tamales.
We found the tamales to be perfectly spiced, with enough heat to make them interesting, without leaving you remembering only the heat. They were beautifully and consistently wrapped, an essential if an entire bundle is to cook evenly. The masa portion had an excellent texture that was moist, without being soggy. Some places seem to make their tamales with as little meat as possible, these, however, were really well balanced. They were served with an excellent little side dish called Cheesy Corn Supreme. The added richness of the cheese sauce and the snap of the corn kernels worked nicely to accent the tamale (as well as give a little additional kick). Mary informed me that she liked to top her tamales with it, and that turned out to be a really wise choice.
We loved meeting Thomas and Mary. We loved hearing their stories. We loved their tamales. Providence truly blessed us. Visit Suck the Shuck Hot Tamales and share that blessing, yourselves.
FOOD: Excellent tamales. Like a lot of small places that pretty much do just one thing, they do them REALLY well. They’re available by the half-dozen & dozen. And don’t forget the Cheesy Corn Supreme! It is the perfect topping to the delicious tamales. Since Thomas makes his tamales by hand each day, give them a quick call before you head over if you need a large order.
SERVICE: Thomas and Mary know and love tamales, each other, and their customers.
ATMOSPHERE: It’s in a gas station. Kind of hidden, and not a real restaurant-feel. While they do have a little table that seats two, you’d probably want to get them to go.
Suck the Shuck Hot Tamales
209 Clinton Blvd
Clinton, MS 39056
Open TUE-SAT 11 AM – 8 PM