The Original Tamale House in Austin, Texas

Turns out our crew of battle-hardened country hosscats can still turn out a big pot of 9th Ward gumbo.

Last week we hopped on a plane from New Orleans to Austin, Texas with backpacks loaded down with Double D sausage out of Bogalusa, Louisiana.

Upon landing we immediately drove to Fiesta Mart, the best grocery store in the state of Texas, to lay in provisions for a brace of big kettles filled with Creole gumbo and red beans and rice.

The Holy Trinity of Louisiana cuisine

The Scrumptious crew has been winnowed down over the years til the 2019 version stands at three hardworking men and one tough as nails woman.

For Sunday service we started our prep on Thursday. Executive sous Paul built a big fire in our commercial smoker and we loaded 50lbs of chicken leg quarters and 30lbs of sausage on the big black iron beast.

While the meats smoked we hit the kitchen and began chopping a heavy freight of sweet onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic.

Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Complete Herald Singles provided the soundtrack.

Double D sausage from Bogalusa, Louisiana

After a few hours of hard work we had the Holy Trinity cooked down to goo, and the proteins bronzed and smoky. We oven-roasted the flour in advance of making the roux; this is a great trick that allows you to make a chocolate colored roux in about ten minutes.

As the week wore on we began our media campaign using all the regular outlets to ensure that friends, family, and readers of the site were aware that we were back in town and throwing a food party. Strangers are welcome at our parties but folks we don’t know tend to be rare.

Saturday we made a few gallons of stock using Austin’s excellent municipal water boiled up with smoked pork trotters and raw chicken frames.

On Sunday we got up and baked off a giant tray of pineapple bread pudding, whipped up a cream-based rum sauce, and started putting the finishing touches on the assembly of the gumbo and red beans and rice.

The Original Tamale House kitchen

We were only preparing three distinct dishes so each one had to be perfect. At the last possible minute we boiled up a kettle of Louisiana-grown medium grain rice from Crowley.

At 6pm a line began to form at Tamale House. We dialed in the Fats Domino Imperial records box set and began serving the crowd.

Three hours later we’d fed over a hundred people and the brimming pots were drained.

The crowd got tilted on Hurricanes from the bar’s frozen drink machine but thankfully no fights broke out. Our pop ups are wild affairs but other than couples making out over in the corners, and folks gyrating to Dave Bartholomew’s big beat sound, things don’t get too out of hand.

When we lived in Austin we threw a big blast about once every six weeks but nowadays we only get down once a year. New Orleans has enough amusements for us to take part in without having to act as organizers.

Scrumptious Chef’s cooking kettles at the end of our pop ups

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