First You Build a Smokehouse ...

by Mary Tutwiler

Bruno Miller dishes out a winner at the Black Pot Festival Cook-off with his Smoked Turkey Wing Sauce Piquant.

First you make a roux, begins the average recipe for a sauce piquant, but not every cook goes to as much trouble as Bruno Miller, who starts out by making his own sausage. Actually, before he even starts grinding, he treks over to Opelousas from his home in Iota for his favorite special sausage seasoning. A second seasoning blend sold only in an Iota specialty meat store coats the turkey wings and necks before the sausage and turkey goes into the smokehouse. And then there's the cord of oak and pecan that needs to be split for firewood. When it comes right down to it, Miller built the smokehouse himself. This is not your everyday turkey wing sauce piquant, but for those who like cooking to be more of a quest than a day in the kitchen, this is the recipe for you. After all the ingredients are assembled, it goes smoothly. "When I cook, I like to keep it pretty simple," Miller says.

Miller's inspirations for his sauce piquant are his mother, and Keith and Gerald Ledoux, who taught him how to smoke meat. "My mother used to cook this recipe," Miller says. "I just put my own little touch to it ' I added the smoking." As for smoking, Miller has an old-fashioned system. "My smokehouse is just a little thing, 3 feet by 6, made of metal. You start with some seasoned oak in the firebox, let it burn down to make a good bed of coals, put on some fresh-cut pecan, drag the box into the smokehouse, cover it with a piece of sheet metal and let it smoke. If the weather is nice and dry, sunny, not too many clouds in the sky, it will do real well." Miller lays a screen across the rods where he hangs sausage to hold the turkey wings and necks. He smokes the sausage for four to five hours, and the turkey needs only three hours. Once the meat is smoked and cooled, putting together the sauce piquant is as easy as making gravy.

Smoked Turkey Wing and Neck Sauce Piquant(serves 12)
vegetable oil
4 onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 pounds cut-up smoked sausage
12 smoked turkey necks
12 smoked turkey wings, middle section only
3 8-ounce cans Rotel tomatoes
2 4-ounce cans tomato paste
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Savoie's Flavoring and Browning Sauce, or Kitchen Bouquet
1/2 cup Savoie's dry roux
salt, cayenne and black pepper
Pour 1/2 inch of oil into a big black iron pot or dutch oven. Brown the turkey wings and necks in the oil. Pour the oil out of the pot. Add the cut-up sausage, the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until brown. Add Rotel, tomato paste, tomato sauce, Savoie's Flavoring, Savoie's dry roux and stir until mixed. Fill pot up 3/4 with water. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, add turkey wings and necks and simmer for an additional hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice.

Smoked Pork Sausage
50 pounds of trimmed pork shoulder
1 package (9.5 ounces) Targil Art's #3 Sausage Seasoning
1/2 hank casing (packed in vacuum bags)
Put cut-up pork shoulder through a meat grinder. Grind medium coarse. Mix seasoning in 1/2 gallon water, then mix into pork by hand. Mix casing with warm water to soften. Using a sausage stuffer, stuff casing, making links 2 feet long. Hang over rod in smoke house and smoke for 4-5 hours.

Smoked Turkey Necks and Wings
12 turkey necks
12 turkey wings, center section only
Coleman's Seasoning
Rub necks and wings with seasoning to coat.
Place on screens in smokehouse and smoke for 3 hours.

To purchase Targil Art's #3 Sausage Seasoning: Targil is located at 229 Wartell Ave., Opelousas, La.; call (337) 942-6276 or visit for more info. To purchase Coleman's Seasoning: Coleman's Sausage and Speciality Meats, 1277 Des Cannes Highway, Iota, La.,(337) 779-3425 or Casing can be purchased from Targil or Coleman's.