Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
The Heart of Cajun Country
T-Boy’s is a small place on a two-lane road north of Opelousas just outside Mamou, the epicenter of Cajun culture and self-proclaimed home of the mardi gras. Simply getting to it is a joy, up from the swamplands of the south into the vast prairies of Evangeline Parish where cattle and horses graze and native zydeco music sets the cultural beat. Once you arrive, you are in for true Cajun flavors and a taste of country life.
When we first visited many years ago, Paul “T-Boy” Berzas, owner and butcher at T-Boy’s Slaughterhouse, apologized when he showed us around the work area in back. He hadn’t yet had time to hose viscera off the floor. Up front, the little grocery was blood-free and clean, its cases filled with sausages and meats from the smokehouse, including paunce (stuffed stomach) and tasso ham. Signs advertising such T-Boy deals as the “100 lb. Special” of beef, pork, sausage, rice, and boudin festooned the walls.
Since that first visit, T-Boy has expanded what he offers. He now has a full mail-order catalog. Here you find such regional delights as a “red beans & rice combo sampler,” 20-pound packs of fully-cooked boudin ready to heat in a microwave oven, and smoked bacon available sliced or whole. (You want whole if you plan to cut it into hunks to flavor beans, greens, etc.) He also sells a full line of T-Boy seasonings, sauces, and seafood-boil spices.
Passers-by should get boudin. T-Boy puts a full measure of liver into his sausage. It is so damp and dripping-good that it cries out for contrasting crunch. That need finds fulfillment in a brown paper bag full of hot cracklin’s. They’re pop-in-the-mouth squiggles of deep-fried pig skin — one of the great Cajun flavors of all time.
By the way, T-Boy got his name because he was the youngest of nine, hence “Petite Boy,” eventually shortened to T-Boy.
Directions & Hours
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