When the scent of delicious outdoor cooking emerges from billowing clouds of smoke and you hear great live music in the distance, you’ve arrived at Le Festivale de la Viande Boucanee, better known as the Smoked Meats Festival. This two day festival promoted by Chapter 632 of the Vietnam Veterans of America is held the last full weekend of June in Ville Platte, Louisiana, better known as the ‘Smoked Meats Capital of the World.’

I had the distinct honor of being an esteemed judge for the 8th year in a row. Woo Hoo! The Smoked Meats Festival is something I look forward to annually. It is truly one of my favorite festivals in Southwest Louisiana.  

Festival highlights include the World Championship Smoked Meat Cookoff for  backyard cooks and professional chefs. Contestants are put to the task of preparing meats in variety of imaginative ways using special seasonings and methods of smoking the meat.

Congratulations to the 2011 Grand Champions of the Smoked Meats Festival Cookoff:

Professional Division Winner - State Representative Bernard LeBas Team's “Pig in a Venison Blanket” dish from the Smoked Game category.

Amateur Division Winner – Citizens Bank Team One's  “Anchors Away Cheesecake” a dish from the Smoked Sausage, Andouille and Ponce Category.

 The Smoked Meats Cookoff is open to any kind of dish using smoked meat; sausage, tasso, seafood, poultry and wild game like deer, pig and rabbit.  Festival goers get to enjoy samples sold at individual booths at the event.  

The festival also sponsors a "best decorated booth" contest, arts and crafts by local artisans, queen and beauty pageants. Wayne Toups and his ZydeCajuns and the Molly Ringwalds were the music headliners this year.

The F-15 Fighter Jet Flyover at High Noon immediately following our national anthem is another huge festival highlight. The flyover is conducted by the Naval Air Station out of Belle Chase, Louisiana. Sure to bring goose bumps to all who witness their magnificent low flying aerial maneuvers.

 The Smoked Meats Festival was founded by Harry Albert, Louisiana Vietnam Veterans Association President in 1993. The festival showcases Cajun heritage, friendly people, delicious Cajun cuisine, outstanding local music and the natural beauty of Evangeline Parish.

All proceeds from the Smoked Meats Festival are put back into the community to fund charitable civic and community projects. A portion of the proceeds also provide financial assistance to needy individuals and families.

 Mark your calendars now for the last full weekend in June 2012 for Le Festivale de la Viande Boucanee, the Smoked Meats Festival. It’s worth the trek to the Ville Platte Civic Center in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana.