New smokehouse has huge variety of meats and specialty foods

Day’s Smokehouse & Specialty Meats opened last October, and owners Kendall and Monica Day have been busy ever since because they are filling a niche in that area.

“There’s no one else offering specialty meats like we have,” said Monica.

The holidays kept them especially busy processing deer, smoking hams and frying turkeys. Their market on LA 16 one mile north of Watson has over 100 items ranging from several varieties of sausage to venison burritos and  from gumbos to casseroles.

Monica said, “We specialize in homemade boudin, cracklins, hog head cheese, and whole boneless stuffed chickens (stuffed with cornbread dressing, crawfish and rice, shrimp and rice, andouille, broccoli and rice, pork sausage or boudin). We also have wild game, including rabbit (raw, smoked or stuffed with pork sausage); venison /pork sausage (made with farm-raised deer); fresh alligator, frozen garfish balls, frog legs and seasoned duck breast.”

“We believe our quality and variety sets us apart, and we invite everyone to come by and visit and take a look at everything we offer.”

They are always thinking of new things to try, such as recent additions of hog head cheese made with jalapeno, cream cheese and crawfish.

They recently added boiled and live crawfish, and are thinking about adding crawfish etouffeé because her mother has “a great recipe.”

Their more traditional meat market choices include smoked meats (pork or turkey tasso, turkey, and more); beef (brisket, hamburger patties, roast beef, liver and choice steaks – rib eye, T-bone, filet  and porterhouse); chicken (chicken breasts or thighs stuffed with a variety of stuffing); and pork (pork chops plain or stuffed, stuffed pork tenderloin, smoked St. Louis ribs and more). They cut all the meats themselves.

Opening this type business wasn’t a stretch for the Days; Kendall had always liked to cook, and he had already been processing deer meat for hunters. About four years ago he walked away from an 18-year career as an electrician to devote his time to his line of Country Boy cornmeal, corn flour, yellow grits and seasoned fish fry. All of the Country Boy products are fresh and hand packaged and made from 100 percent corn.

Monica resigned from her job as an IT professional when they decided, “the business was a ‘go’ and we were not going to do it halfway. Business was a little overwhelming in the beginning, but now we know how to plan and when to cook what. Our cooks include me, Kendall, Kendall’s dad, and Vicki Sullivan. Our recipes are a combination of family recipes from our Cajun heritage and ones we developed through trial and error.”

Everything they offer is made from scratch, and most of the dishes are available as fresh or frozen, but they also have some selections that are cooked and ready to take home.

Although they’re not billing themselves as a restaurant, they feature catfish plates with French fries, coleslaw, garlic bread and tartar sauce for $7.99, and every Friday is steak night with an 18 ounce choice ribeye,  salad, baked potato and garlic bread for $19.99. They also have a selection of plate lunches.

“Around lunch time we’ll pull some smoked ribs off the smoker and have some meat pies and boudin ready,” said Monica. “We make sirloin and ribeye wraps with the steak sliced real thin, stuffed with jalapenos and cream cheese and wrapped in bacon and cooked on the grill until the bacon is crispy.”

Other hot items include po boys, homemade hamburgers, boudin balls and crawfish pies.

They have one table inside the market and a few smaller ones on an outdoor patio for anyone who wants to eat their food on the premises. In addition to Country Boy products, the store sells their own seasoning blend and cast iron cooking pots.

The Day’s Smokehouse building is new but has a warm, welcoming feel.

“We wanted it to look like an old-fashioned country store and be a place where people would linger and visit, and they’re doing that,” Monica explained. “We like the homey feeling.”

Anyone looking for a prepared meal for supper can stop on their way home and pick up any of their prepared meats, stuffed bell peppers,  homemade soup or gumbo, plus sides such as cornbread or rice dressing, green bean casserole, baked beans, sweet potatoes and more. Their only dessert at this time is pecan pie.

The business employed about 20 people during peak deer season and now is down to about 12, mostly part time, including several students and the Days’ sons Brandon and Caleb.

“We are a family-owned and operated Christian business. We’ve lived in Watson for 15 years; our children have grown up here, and we care about this community,” Monica said. “We believe our quality and variety sets us apart, and we invite everyone to come by and visit and take a look at everything we offer.”