Acadiana isn’t really known for barbecue. What you get from your Sunday plate lunch joint is what barbecue purists would call “grilling.” Or better yet, you’ll find pork steaks baked in a sticky syrup of barbecue sauce. Not exactly barbecue. But it’s delicious.
It’s sort of weird to be purist about barbecue. It’s a way of cooking that springs from necessity. But it’s become an art form. Something people spend years mastering. And you can’t have masterful barbecue without a masterful sauce. And the sauce is where regional feuds are born.
Around here, we can stay out of the fight. Grab whatever sauce suits your palate: Texas smoke, Kansas City sweet or — if you’re reaching for a local bottle with a Carolina tang you could grab a bottle of Leonard’s Carolina Barbecue Sauce.
The Leonard on the label is Chris, a North Carolina native who moved to Louisiana for a job in the oil industry. Chris used his pandemic downtime to bottle up batches of his dad’s (Dan “Diesel” Leonard) sauce recipe: a thin, tart marinade and finishing sauce in the Lexington style.
The sauce took off. And today Chris sells it at meat markets around Acadiana. It’s even been known to find its way into crawfish dip.
Though Acadiana doesn’t have a dog in the sauce fight, we’ve got plenty of dogs looking for a bite of something decadent.
Dogs might eat shoes, but they also like a taste of the good life from time to time. And Jennifer Decoux is here to indulge them.
Jennifer is the owner and operator of Chow Bella Dog Bakery, a one-stop-shop for canine confections. Rice crispy treats, cake bones, fruit roll ups, brownies, chicken strips, fries, nuggets and custom cakes. These are just a few of the treats Chow Bella churns out for pups — most with fewer than five ingredients and none with salt and sugar.
Jennifer was born in New Orleans and raised in Lafayette. You can find her and her Chow Bella range of canine cuisine most Saturdays at the Moncus Park farmers market.
Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Astor Morgan.