Where Ordinary Turkeys Become Memory-Makers

The Cajun Turkey Company

Billy Howell is Cajun-born and raised, growing up in New Orleans with a built-in love and respect for anything that tastes, smells, sounds, or looks like Cajun culture. He prefers to cook and eat Cajun, especially when it registers near the hot end of the scale.
Billy loved kitchen sessions with his grandmother and continued cooking after she was gone, but he never thought of cooking for a living.
“I was in apparel sales,” he explained, “and I repped several brands. We eventually moved to the Dallas area, where I was at the Apparel Mart a lot. I also spent days at a time on the road and I always headed for the kitchen when I got home. It was my place of tranquility.”
Billy enjoyed cooking an array of Cajun-inspired dishes, frequently putting together original recipes. The one thing he never tired of cooking was the traditional Cajun fried turkey. He felt a spirit of adventure every time he lowered one of those birds into the hot grease, excited to see the result of each golden/brown masterpiece when he lifted it from the pot.
On a Sunday afternoon in 1994, Billy was frying a turkey in his garage while childhood friend Paul Knowlton watched the Saints football game. Having tasted the incredibly moist and juicy turkey several times before, Paul said, “Hound Dog (Billy’s childhood nickname), this turkey is too good to share with just your family and friends.” So, they decided to put an ad in the Dallas Morning News, and the response was staggering. Billy fired up two pots in his garage, where he dunked more than 600 birds into the bubbling grease between mid-October and New Year’s Day. People picked up their turkeys at Billy’s residence, Paul’s office, or wherever there was a convenient meet-up. It was the fall of 1995 when these two friends-turned-business-partners founded The Cajun Turkey Company with $1200 each in seed money.
There’s a reason Billy’s turkeys are different from all counterparts. Before they hit the scalding grease, they are injected with one quart of Howell’s specially concocted Geaux (pronounced “Go”) Juice. It’s an orange juice base with a top-secret blend of Cajun spices. It’s also bottled and sold in the Cajun Turkey Lewisville store and through catalogs.
“There were some lean, tough years in the beginning,” Billy admitted.
“My aunt once sent me a food catalog, which pushed me to contact Neiman Marcus and Williams Sonoma. I’ve been featured for years in their catalogs and on Neiman’s website. Our Spicy Cajun Turkey is a star in Central Market’s Holiday Collection.
“About 80 percent of our annual business comes from mail-in orders placed between October and the end of December. I’m still spreading the word that we’re here 365 days, with turkeys and dozens of other items – such as Crawfish Queso, Dirty Rice, Gumbo, Etouffee, Seafood Jambalaya, Crawfish Cornbread (my favorite side dish), Boudin, Honey Glazed Hams, complete holiday meals, and much more. We have Hot Boiled Crawfish every Saturday, February – July.
“All our Cajun dishes are produced in South Louisiana by ‘real Cajuns’ with the finest ingredients. We offer the most authentic Cajun and creole foods in today’s market. Our Geaux Juice is world-famous, from all over the US to Australia, Japan, and Mexico. Since it all began, we’ve delivered over 2 million pounds of uniquely flavored turkeys.
“We provide a stress-free holiday meal with 95% of our products ‘fully cooked’, including turkeys and hams. Customers just ‘Heat, Serve n’ Eat’ by our included, simple-to-follow instructions.
“Sometimes I wonder how we got here,” Billy mused, “but I truly know it was God – His time, way, and will. I still feel a tingle when my food is complemented, and I value the relationships with my customers. Remember the movie Field of Dreams, when a friend told Kevin Costner people would come if he built it? I still get choked up over a customer who posted a Five Star Google review and said: ‘Billy built it, and people came.’ That’s just beautiful.”
Visit the Lewisville store on November 5, between 11:00 and 4:00 for the annual tasting. Food is laid out. You eat, talk, laugh, and decide what you want on your holiday table.
“I didn’t build this alone,” said Billy. “I thank God first, then my wife Dee and my daughter Sarah for their constant support. Then my team for all their dedication to The Cajun Turkey Company: Jodi, Judie, Kelli, Monica, Melanie, Jason, Nate, and Bryan.”

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