Creole & Cajun
Burt’s Meat Market Serving Houston Cajun Classics For 74 Years
Residents of Denver Harbor and the Greater Fifth Ward have been queuing up for the hot deli counter at Burt’s Meat Market and Cajun Foods at 5910 Lyons Avenue for seventy-four years. You get the feeling little has changed since Burt’s opened in 1946. Then, Frenchtown, a nearby Houston neighborhood in the Fifth Ward that is the birthplace of Texas Zydeco, would have been in its heyday — full of Creoles, some who took the Texas and New Orleans Railroad to escape the Louisiana flood of 1927. Locals still line up for Styrofoam boxes packed with pure love in the form of legendary Beef Tips in Gravy and Chicken and Dumplings adorned with peas or carrots.
Once inside, the playful banter of folks who have worked together for many years greets customers. Beneath the cheer and camaraderie, however, is seriously good cooking. Essentials such as Boudain Stuffed Pork Chops and Cajun Fried Chicken are hearty and the sides such as Broccoli And Cheese Rice and sweet potatoes, a soul food classic, are doled out with a heavy hand. Whichever sides you choose, be sure to add a couple of Jalapeño Poppers with sausage wrapped in bacon.
The neighborhood’s history may explain the chicken and sausage gumbo or the authenticity of its andouille, with meat that is cut chunky and not ground fine. Both of these dishes bear the hallmarks of a fine Louisiana cuisine that has drifted ever so slightly Texan: the gumbo roux is dark but not black and the andouille is lighter in color than in LaPlace, Louisiana, a town known for great andouille. But Burt’s is still closer than most of what you’ll find in Houston or in Louisiana. There are also additional soul food staples such as mustard greens with bacon and loose boudain, which resembles dirty rice. Boudain, by the way, is spelled “boudin” everywhere but parts of Texas.
Customers can place orders in the hot-deli line or cold-meat line. The hot-deli line usually carries just one or two types of pork boudain (spicy and mild), but over at the cold-meat line you can purchase the pork plus spicy chicken, seafood, beef and jalapeño beef.
In the cold-meat line — an equally popular reason for frequenting Burt’s — you can also find an array of other sausages. The majority are housemade like the Smoked Habanero and Cherry Sausage or pan sausage. The Alligator Sausage, however, is trucked in from Winnie, Texas.
In addition, Texas grass-fed beef from Glen’s Packing in Hallettsville populates a quarter of the meat line. You will find perfectly marbled crown roasts, calf’s livers, T-bone steaks and more. The rest of the case holds southern staples like tasso and smoked turkey legs, both of which are housemade and are the secret ingredients for amazing beans and greens.
Feed a crowd with Burt’s Meat Packs such as the Nickel Pack. The name is both an homage to one the neighborhood’s nicknames and an indication of the serving sizes: it includes five pounds each of round steak, ground chuck, chuck steak, sliced bacon, first cut pork chops and chicken fryers. The pack might also be less expensive than similar items at a traditional grocery store as ABC News-13’s Chelsey Hernandez discovered back in February when she visited Burt’s, as regulars to this longtime butcher eagerly reminisced about coming since before they could remember.
While meats dominate the selections, Burt’s also sells packs of freshly cut fruit plus desserts such as banana pudding and peach cobbler and essential side dishes like Hot Texan Chow Chow and pimento cheese. There is also a host of bottled drinks, too, including sodas, juice, milk and more. All of the food from the hot-deli line is exclusively to-go and while there is no indoor seating, the nearby Cliff Tuttle Skatepark is a popular place to picnic. For social-distanced shopping, you can even call (713) 674-0064 to place your order.