Behold the site of forty pounds of meat from Johnson’s Boucaniere in Lafayette Louisiana. Competition’s fierce on the prairies of the western part of the state but at the end of the day, Johnson’s puts out my favorite sausage.
A little history.
Sometimes I turn to prophets to gain knowledge of a certain style of foodway. One of these men is Robert Carriker, Professor of History at Louisiana University Lafayette. He also wears a hat of which he may be even more proud; boudin guru at www.boudinlink.com
Curiously, his bio page on the university’s website makes no mention of his real passion. But if you look at his photo here http://history.louisiana.edu/Robert%20Carriker%20page.htm I’d wager that that’s not a dusty, history library he’s dreaming of, it’s probably boudin.
Mr Carriker is how I discovered Johnson’s Boucaniere.
84 year old Wallace Johnson holds court at the smokehouse bearing his name each day of the work week. He is a legend in the world of boudin but you’d never know it if you were to exchange pleasantries with him in the restaurant.
His history in the industry stretches all the way back to 1948 when his daddy began selling boudin on Saturday mornings at Johnson’s Grocery in Eunice, Louisiana forty or so miles up the road.
Johnson’s Grocery had a good long run before finally closing in 2005. That’s when things started to get interesting. Wallace Johnson’s daughter Lori Johnson Walls was flummoxed. She didn’t want to stop eating sausage just because the family business shuttered but nor did she want to turn to one of her family’s former competitors to get her fix.
Enter husband Greg Walls. They formulated a business plan and in 2008 they opened Johnson’s Boucaniere in Lafayette.
I only get to make it by there once a year but I slobber like a hound dog as I read their daily tweets concerning what hot plate lunches they’re serving in the cafe. I’d weigh 300 pounds if I lived anywhere near Lafayette.
Lafayette, Louisiana is the buckle of the boudin belt like Austin, Texas is the buckle of the barbecue belt. It’s the epicenter from whence you may radiate outwards to dozens of small prairie towns where little country groceries and slaughterhouses each vend their own particular style of boudin.
I’ve dreamed of marrying one day and spending a honeymoon week in west Louisiana just riding around eating boudin, drinking Abita beer and living the good life. I reckon I’ll know I’ve met the right woman when I mention this scheme and it’s rightly agreed to.
Dessert: Johnson’s Boucaniere won the 2011 bread pudding taste off held in Lafayette. I’ve never had any belly space left at the end of a meal there so I’ll have to take the word of the judges.
excellent article about boudin here http://gardenandgun.com/article/adventures-boudin-junkie?xid=11-19-11
Johnson’s website http://www.johnsonsboucaniere.com/