Here in Central Texas where barbecue, Tex-Mex, and Tex-Czech cuisine are food ambassadors, it's easy to forget that the state also has a rich Acadian culinary tradition. The swampy East Texas Piney Woods and Gulf Coast are full of Cajuns who find no better comfort than a warm plate of etouffee and a spicy boudin link. The folks at Stuffed Cajun Meat Market in Cedar Park need no reminder, and judging by the steady stream of lunchtime customers at this market and cafe, neither do the neighbors.
Stuffed Meat Market came into being when longtime business partners Kurt Knies and Tim Garrett fled the mortgage finance business to stake out new territory in food service. Both had a strong interest in cooking, and they opened Stuffed in 2010 using recipes from Garrett's own Cajun family trove.
This is your go-to place for all things Cajun. Forget to defrost some meat for dinner? Stop by Stuffed and pick up some bacon-wrapped quail, frog legs, cornbread-stuffed pork chops, or a quart of gumbo from the refrigerator case. DIYers can eliminate a few steps from their culinary oeuvre with a jar of dark roux or some hard-to-find ingredients like Camellia beans.
Then there are those who skip the grocery goods altogether and order straight from the kitchen, where steaming hot bowls of seafood gumbo ($7.49 per pint) and huge plates of red beans and rice ($5.49) emerge like little salvation beacons for the hungry. The crawfish etouffee ($8.99) is truly magnificent. In this dish, celery-infused seafood stock anchors a roux-thickened gravy brimming with crawfish and, of course, lots of butter. Stuffed's po'boys are large enough to feed a small village; a half sandwich will feed a family. Mine barely dented the roast beef po'boy ($8.99), made from fall-apart pot roast soaked in gravy and piled with all the fixin's on a soft baguette.
Stuffed makes its own sausages, and these include alligator sausage, boudin, andouille, and a spicy Cajun variety, among others. I tried the boudin, and while everything else that comes out of the Stuffed kitchen positively explodes with flavor, I thought this sausage needed a bigger kick. All meals ordered in-house come with a choice of sides that include pudding-moist cornbread, potato salad, french fries, and bacony, smothered green beans that are a credit to their genre. Git yerself stuffed.
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