We knew that Ville Platte calls itself the smoked meat capital of the United States and from everyone you talk to, Teet’s Store is the place to go. Yesterday, we did just that and as luck would have it, Lawrence “Teet” DeVille was in the store. In his eighties, he doesn’t work every day. His son Chris now owns and manages the store. His father started the business in 1955 advertising “Specialiste Dans La Viande Boucanee. (Smoked meats.)
Chris gave us a tour of the place. The smokehouse sits out back. Just stepping out into the yard brought up wonderful smells.The hopper is filled with oak wood. He likes hickory and maple better, but it is hard to get. The fire is started outside the smoke house and then moved inside. It needs tending with more wood every half hour or so. It usually runs for five hours.
An employee had just started to load the meat. Some pork necks were hanging along with some ribs.
Inside the store is the good stuff. When you buy it to freeze or if you want it shipped, it comes shrink wrapped. If you want to try their specialties, they have a website TEETSFOODSTORE. Grandson Luke DeVille handles the shipping end of the business.
Or, you can buy however much you want by weight from the case. Pictured is smoked turkey sausage, smoked pork ribs, andouille and tasso on the right.
Here, pork hocks and turkey wings and necks. You will find every part of the bird smoked in the counter. I found out that tasso is just a smoked cut of meat without bone. For instance, we bought turkey sausage in shrink-wrap to freeze, and smoked turkey thighs without bone, that is tasso.
This is Queen Bee. Chris was very modest, but she told us about their award and what a wonderful family they are. Teets other specialty is ponce, a local delicacy. It is a pig stomach stuffed with ground pork,vegetables, rice, and seasonings. The stomach contracts and the whole package is eaten sliced for sandwiches or can be eaten hot or cold. The store has won many awards over the years and was again voted Best Smoked Meat in the state (professional category) for 2012. Teets told us he started small, grinding carcass by hand, stuffing sausage by hand. Now everything is done with high-tech equipment.
* After our visit to Teet,s Food Store I got the sweetest letter from Luke DeVille, the shipping manager for the store. He helped me identify the meats in the counter. I had them practically all wrong. I've corrected them so they are right now. But one thing not wrong is the fine taste. Jim and I had tasso for supper tonight cooked in a stew with vegetables, tomatoes, beans and rice. The tasso is mildly spicey and gave the dish a great smoked flavor. Yum.
We stopped by Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning’s building only to learn that the spices made famous by Janet Walker and Sons are processed and packaged in Opelousas. They ship from a warehouse down the street.
Everyone in town tells you directions: "Go to the Red House." It is their gift store. The clerk there gave us some samples of their product. I tried it on fish last night and it is very tasty. They have mixes and seasonings. Kind of pre-packed foods with just the right flavors.
We stopped at an auto supply store and I saw this mud “house”, several of them were in their yard. The storekeeper told me it is a crawfish den. “That’s why they call ‘em mudbugs. They live in the ground, in the mud. When it rains, they come up. I’ve got ‘em all over my yard at home, too.” I tell you, someday I’m going to be an expert in the arcane.
And, I want you to know, Ville Platte is a very polite town. If you aren’t nice, you can get arrested. Don’t be showin’ your underwear. Naughty, naughty.
Can’t you just see someone’s mama shaking a finger at you?