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 a true taste of country life.
Paul “T-Boy” Berzas, owner and butcher at T-Boy’s Slaughterhouse, apologized when he showed us around the work area in back one day at noon because he hadn’t yet had time to hose viscera off the floor. Up front, the little grocery is blood-free and clean, its cases filled with sausages and meats from the smokehouse – including paunce (stuffed stomach) and tasso ham – its walls festooned with signs advertising such T-Boy deals as the “100 lb. Special” of beef, pork, sausage, rice and boudin.
T-Boy, who got his name because he was the youngest of nine, hence “Petite Boy,” eventually shortened to T-Boy, puts a full measure of liver in his boudin, which is so damp and dripping-good that it cries out for contrasting crunch. That need is perfectly filled by a brown paper bag full of hot cracklin’s – pop-in-the-mouth squiggles of deep-fried pig skin.
(T-Boy’s has a second location in Eunice.)