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Banger’s Kicks off Road Trip, Nola-Style

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With enough swamp rat, alligator, wild boar, brass bands and beer to keep the French Quarter afloat, ATX Man gives you a front-row seat at Banger’s Mardi Gras celebration and a preview of what’s to come.

By Andy East

Dead Music Capital Band captivates the crowd

By showcasing a tantalizing selection of Bayou State delicacies, Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden opened up a can of Cajun whoop-ass at the Mardi Gras installment of Second Chance Sundays with a hearty dose swamp rat, alligator and wild boar.

Hundreds turned out to enjoy a panoply of drinks and dabble in unique Cajun dishes to the tune of Austin nine-piece brass band the Urban Achievers and the ghoulishly spectacular Dead Music Capital Band.

Samples of swamp rat, or nutria, were given out shortly after noon and did not disappoint. The nutria had a full-bodied taste and was brined and marinated to achieve a tender, melt-in-the-mouth flavor.

The special of the day, which consisted of alligator Boudin and a lip-smacking gumbo comprised of alligator, crawfish, crab and Andouille sausage, landed a delectable roundhouse kick to the taste buds, leaving patrons salivating.

Abita Purple Haze wheat beer with a tinge of raspberry, alligator boudin and gumbo

When not roasting exotic eats, Banger’s is known for its bratwursts, brunches, unparalleled selection of beers and canine-friendly atmosphere with a dog park on the premises. Nestled in the heart of the burgeoning Rainey Street District, Banger’s has ample outdoor seating, more than 100 beers on tap, and with more than 20 different in-house produced sausages, even the most fervent sausage zealots can rejoice.

Second Chance Sundays, usually the second Sunday of each month, are a weekend pick-me-up in case your Saturday nights are a letdown. They include whole-animal roasts, live music and are part of Banger’s Road Trip through the U.S.A., which highlights a different region of the U.S. each month with food and beer specials from each region.

After this month’s gastronomical romp through Louisiana, Banger’s Road Trip is off to Boston for a St. Patrick’s Day throwdown with lamb, rabbit and venison sausages, as well as a whole leg of lamb. Visit bangersaustin.com for more information.

Interested in roasting your own swamp rat? ATX Man and Banger’s have got you covered:

Smoked Swamp Rat

Remove fur. Soak in a brine for 24 hours, covering the whole animal. To determine the amount of water necessary, put the animal into a bucket, weigh it down so it doesn’t float and run cold water until the animal is submerged three inches. Remove the animal from the bucket and measure the water.

Per gallon of water, add:

  • One cup salt
  • Half cup sugar
  • Handful garlic cloves
  • Half a pound spicy peppers
  • Two lemons, squeezed and dropped in
  • Two limes, squeezed and dropped in
  • 10 to 15 bay leaves
  • One bunch of parsley
  • Handful of peppercorns
  • Two cinnamon sticks

After 24 hours, remove the rat from the brine and pat it dry. Bring your smoker to 160 to 180 degrees. Smoke the rat for eight to 10 hours. Every 30 minutes, lightly brush the rat with a butter and beer basting liquid consisting of:

  • One pound of butter
  • Two cans of beer
  • One tablespoon salt
  • Two tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1/3 tablespoon cayenne

Enjoy!

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