CONTACT US  |  email icon

The best source for everything Deep South USA


Hot Tamale Trail, Mississippi

Mississippi Tamale Trail 

The Mississippi Delta is best known for its association with blues, cotton and catfish, however the Mississippi Delta also has a fascinating relationship with hot tamales. In restaurants, on street corners in snack shacks and in family kitchens throughout the Delta, this very old tradition remains vibrant. 

Although there are different stories to the origination of the tamale, it is said that they came to be a Delta favourite during the early twentieth century when Hispanic labourers made their way to Mississippi from Texas through Arkansas to work the cotton harvest. During a cold day in November a Hispanic labourer unpacked a hot meal of tamales, tightly packed in a lard bucket, which was an improvement from the cold lunch of a nearby black co-worker. The fellow labourer smells the delicious aroma, begs for a taste and discovers the recipe to cook this inexpensive meal using readily available ingredients. When the cotton harvest is over, the Hispanic labourer travels back to Texas and the African American makes a batch of tamales which he starts selling from a cart to provide an income between cotton seasons. And, as they say, the rest is history!

Tamale recipes can vary between restaurants and families; in fact no two people make tamales the same in the Mississippi Delta. Pork is traditional, but some use beef or even turkey, filled with cornmeal and spices then steamed in a corn husk.

Today tamales are available and sung about in clubs and juke joints throughout the Mississippi Delta. With hot tamales being served alongside traditional Delta Blues at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale nearly every weekend, you can enjoy an authentic Delta experience.

While travelling through the Mississippi Delta why not try different tamales and let us know what you think by emailing


What to do

  • Family Fun in Deep South USA


    From the great outdoors, to fantastic shows and parks...
    Artists performing at Grand Ole Opry


    For American music, all roads lead to the Deep South...
    History of Deep South USA


    Travelling through the Deep South is a history lesson in itself!
  • Deep South USA Cuisine


    Sample a taste of the real Deep South…
    Heritage of Deep South USA


    Discover our colourful cultural beginnings…
    Man playing gold in Deep South USA


    Perfect your Southern swing in stunning settings…


Alabama Tourism Logo  Louisiana Tourism  Visit Mississippi Tourism Tennessee Tourism

Ask an expert who's been to Mississippi

Start planning your Deep South USA road trip by contacting one of our Southern specialists.