Smoked boudin has become increasingly popular at barbecue joints throughout Texas—not just along the Louisiana border. Most of it comes from just two suppliers in Beaumont: Zummo Meat Co. and DJ’s Original Boudain. They’re both Texas brands using a rice-heavy Texas-style recipe. That wouldn’t do for Steve Garner at Southern Q BBQ in Houston. He has developed his own boudin since Southern Q opened on Kuykendahl Road in Houston in 2015. Two years ago, he added a spicy version, and you can now get both at the new second location of Southern Q on West Richey Road.
Garner developed the recipes via trial and error. His earliest efforts seemed too similar to Texas-style boudin for his tastes. By adding more spice and less rice, he settled on what he describes as a more authentic, Louisiana style. The rice doesn’t tumble out of the casing because it’s bound up with so much pork and fat. The links can be eaten with the casings, just like a sausage, or squeezed out onto what Garner calls “Fire Crackers.” The recipe for these spiced Saltines comes from his late mother, and they are the perfect foundation for a bite of that boudin.
With his own recipe, Garner said he wanted to pay homage to the boudin of his youth, the variety he ate during his club-going days. “You had the boudin because you wanted something to soak that liquor up real quick, and you was on the move, so you couldn’t drop all the sauce on you,” Garner told me. His wife and co-owner, Sherice, echoed these memories. “You had to eat at Bookity,” she said, referring to the Bookity Bookity Boudain Man, who still sets up outside clubs in Houston to sell his homemade boudin. More than just a convenient snack, the Garners describe Bookity’s boudin as a staple for the city’s black community. “It was just something that you had to have from our culture growing up,” Steve said.
Garner also makes a point to spell the word “boudin” rather than “boudain.” The latter spelling is often found on Texas versions of the Louisiana specialty. On the DJ’s company website, they even claim “the ‘a’ stands for awesome.” Nobody quite knows where the extra letter came from, but the variation causes confusion among Louisianians and Texans alike.
The Southern Q boudin and the signature “Taste of the South” platter—a steal at $27 for four meats and four sides—have kept the customers coming. The Garners outgrew their original location, so they started the renovation of an old house on West Richey near Interstate 45 more than eighteen months ago. They finally opened it last month, and if the hectic parking situation is any indication, folks aren’t having a hard time finding the place. The original location is still open for lunch. The menu is identical at both, but the operating hours are longer at the new spot. The couple has been working eighteen-hour days to keep both locations running smoothly, and it’s working. The boudin is even better than I remember from my first bite a few years back.
Southern Q BBQ
411 W. Richey Rd.
Houston, TX 77090