Jarred I. Zeringue releases cookbook about Cajun sausage, seasonal cooking and more |

Jarred I. Zeringue grew up in the River Parishes, where he learned to cook at home. He went into the restaurant business following Hurricane Katrina when he opened Eat New Orleans in the French Quarter. He also was a partner in Vacherie Restaurant and Bar at The St. Marie Hotel. In 2016, he and a partner bought Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse in LaPlace. Hurricane Ida severely damaged the restaurant, but the smokehouses were not harmed. He is working toward reopening the restaurant in coming weeks. This week, Pelican Publishing releases his cookbook “Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking through the Seasons.” Zeringue signs the book from 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, May 7, at Estella’s in Metairie. For information on Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse, visit wjsmokehouse.com. For information about Zeringue and his cookbook, see @jarredzeringue on Instagram.

Gambit: What happened to Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse during the storm?

Jarred I. Zeringue: Ida took a third of the roof off the main building and blew out the front windows. It was completely drenched, so we had to gut down to the studs. The smokehouses were fine because they are low to the ground. We’ve been rebuilding for six or seven months, and now it’s almost hurricane season.

The kitchen is almost open. We are waiting for the final details of the hood system to be finished. We have a porch in the back where we’ve been cooking plate lunches every day. We may open in a week. It’ll be We are going to start with a limited menu to get people in and out in a timely manner — until we have more staff.

Gambit: Wayne Jacob’s is known for andouille. How’s the smoked meat business?

Zeringue: It’s a 72-year-old smokehouse. We still use all the same recipes and traditions they started with in 1950. In our busy times, we can make 500 pounds of andouille a day, and we can sell it. As long as it’s We sell 10 times as much andouille as anything else in the store, because that’s what we’ve been known for since 1950. We can go through as much as we can make at that We also have to cut off holiday shipping on Dec. 5 in order to be able to get it out before Christmas. We also have to serve our locals first.

We do everything from chopping wood on my dad’s farm to making the fire and stuffing the sausage. We smoke the links anywhere from eight to 12 hours over low, constant heat. We have four smokehouses. Each one is six-by-eight feet, It’s all-natural smoke, all-natural wood, all-natural casings. We don’t use anything artificial. It’s a very simple recipe, it’s just the time and the art of doing it.

We also do cracklings. We do gumbo and jambalaya mix — dry mixes as a kit — and people can buy the meat and add that. We have a smoked spicy hog’s head cheese that we sell a lot of. We also do barbecue ribs and brisket We make smoked ham and bacon. The three biggest things are andouille, smoked sausage and tasso; those are the three biggest things you use in Cajun cooking.

We have about 30 products: some game, seasonally; we do boudin-stuffed chickens; we sell ready-made gumbo and soups. When the restaurant is open, we make our own dressings and spice mixes. With the cookbook, I refer to it As Circle Z seasoning mix. A lot of the recipes call for it. It’s like six ingredients, and it cuts those steps out of the recipes. We sell that as well.

Gambit: What was the idea behind the cookbook?

Zeringue: I have been putting the manuscript together over the years. At the restaurants, I always had to write everything down to have a consistent product. We also did recipe cards for customers, which we gave them with their receipts. Then at the smokehouse, we started shipping all over the country, and people didn’t know what to do with the smoked meats they bought — many times impulsively. They’d see something on TV and they’d buy it. Then they’d text us, “ What are we supposed to do with it? ”So we made these recipe cards with stories about what to do with them.

So I had recipes from the restaurants and family recipes. With all those things combined, I had an idea to put together the cookbook. I wanted to do it by season so people would know the traditions of why we eat what we eat and when we eat it. Having a restaurant in the French Quarter, I would have tourists come in and say, “I want crawfish,” in August. With user-generated reviews, you’d get these terrible reviews about how they couldn’t get crawfish — When it wasn’t crawfish season.

Over the years, I realized how far people are from their food sources and how they don’t realize everything has a season. If you eat something that’s not in season, it’s probably not going to taste as good as it should, and it’s going to be expensive. It’s not going to be the best experience.

It’s cost effective and it’s fresh. And why we eat Creole tomatoes in the summer. All those things went into developing the seasonal cookbook. It also played into all the stories about the experiences with these ingredients and the traditions.

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