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You can’t leave Louisiana without sampling boudin — the herby, onion-filled pork sausage that is essential to cajun cuisine. Johnson’s Boucaniere in Lafayette has been around since 1937, a yellowish tan house in the heart of the city serving snappy, freshly-made boudin and other craft meats (though you’re really coming for the sausage). The recipe hasn’t changed since the restaurant’s inception, and it is so legendary that it has birthed dozens of copycats.
You can buy the sausage to take home, or you can enjoy it in the shop’s famous Parrain’s Special (Parrain is the cajun term for godfather) — a grilled cheese filled with crumbled boudin and homemade BBQ sauce. For such a small sandwich, it’s an exceedingly hearty dish — and, just like Johnson’s, it exemplifies the vibrancy and creativity of cajun cooking.
We visited on a Monday and co-owner Greg Walls was clear to let us know that just because they’re closed on Mondays doesn’t mean they’re not working. We arrived to find five people huddled in the back pulling apart pork and brisket piece by piece, examining every morsel, to prep for the week ahead and the many orders of sandwiches.
We also got to taste the boudin and as first-timers, the apprehension dissipated after our first bite. Hearty, tasty and a bit spicy. We’re not sure why we hadn’t ever tried it before.