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A Look at Runaway Boucherie Year One in Cajun Country

Over a hundred chefs, butchers, and pitmasters (including several from New Orleans) came together over the weekend in Grand Coteau along with local growers, brewers, a syrup maker, musicians, and volunteers to throw down Cajun-style with an old school boucherie community pig butchering and feast.

In an open field off Louisiana local route 93 on the edge of Grand Coteau heading into Arnaudville, boucherie grand master Toby Rodriguez from Lache Pas Boucherie in Lafayette, culinary non-profit Runaway Dish (also based in Lafayette), along with 100+ chefs, butchers, pitmasters, growers, brewers, and volunteers cooked and camped on November 2-3 to in a traditional boucherie.

What set this boucherie apart was the inclusion of outside chefs - folks from eight different states, including a healthy contingent from New Orleans camped out, cooked, ate, partied, and made music together as two lambs and two pigs from area farms (Bayou Farm in Ville Platte, Isle des Chênes in Scott, Inglewood Farm in Alexandria, and Oakley Family Farm in Dry Creek) were killed peacefully and butchered respectfully to feed the crowd.

From New Orleans, Michael Gulotta of Mopho, Lisa White from Domenica and Pizza Domenica, Aaron Burgau from Patois, Nathan Winner, the "NOLA Pie Guy," Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery, Mason Hereford of Coquette, SoBou's Abigal Gullo (who threw together a jungle juice punch and kept a bottle of mescal in her back pocket to share) and Simone Reggie from Good Eggs all pitched in.

The food far outshined the culinary star power, though, from chicken andouille gumbo to spit roasted lamb to fresh made biscuits and gravy to cracklins, backbone stew ("it's like gumbo and grillades had a baby," as Besh Group PR maven Emery Whalen described it) to smoked ribs to a late night pig roast.

Whiskey and beer flowed; both Parish Brewing from Broussard and Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville contributed beer to the cause, and apparently whiskey is a part of any Cajun butcher's tool kit. Music from local bands like the New Lafayette Playboys and Soul Creole kept everyone dancing into the night and the adjacent campground ensured that no one had to stagger very far to go to bed.