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Culinary Trail Signature Dish: Meat Pies

Filled, fried and eaten with your fingers, these savory pies were made famous by the city of Natchitoches.
By Staff

Meat Pies are a must-eat dish in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

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What is a meat pie? 

Just as the name implies, a meat pie is a fried pocket of pie-like crust or thin dough filled with a combination of beef, pork and seasonings. This savory handheld pastry is one of Louisiana’s official state foods and is celebrated every September at the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival in Natchitoches (pronounced NAK-uh-tush), where it first gained popularity.

Where did meat pies originate?

First introduced by Native Americans in Louisiana back in the 1700s, the meat pie has evolved over the past 300 years. The Spanish later came along and spiced-up the original recipe, which was then passed down through generations – sometimes getting a few tasty tweaks along the way. They were mostly sold from home kitchens and street carts until the mid-1900s, when James Lasyone opened his own meat pie restaurant in Natchitoches. His place became an instant sensation that still draws crowds today.

How do I eat meat pies?

The ultimate finger food, you just pick it up and chow down. Not too fast, though. You’ll want to be careful eating meat pies right out of the fryer, since they get extremely hot and can burn your fingers and mouth if they don’t cool down first.

Where can I try meat pies?

You can find meat pies all over the state these days, but Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant in Natchitoches is one great place to get your fix. James Lasyone didn’t invent the dish, but he sure helped make it famous. Now, daughters Angela Lasyone and Tina Lasyone-Smith run the family restaurant, where they hand-make between 400 and 1,000 pies each day. (If you don’t fill up on the pies, they also have terrific hand-battered chicken strips and crawfish pie!) If you're road-tripping through the Bayou State, these tasty treats are also available in roadside stores and restaurants just off the interstate.

Need a recipe for meat pies?

Can't make it to Louisiana to get these delicious hand pies? Check out this Natchitoches Meat Pie recipe from Chef Emeril Lagasse!