I just tried Southwest Louisiana boudin for the very first time and loved it! If you know me, your mind is blown right now, because I’m super picky with food (like an annoying child), but I really did like boudin!
Boudin (pronounced boo-dan), a Louisiana delicacy, is essentially a mixture of pork, rice and seasonings put through a meat grinder, then stuffed into a sausage casing and cooked. The exact mixture and seasoning blend varies from maker to maker, but one thing’s for certain — it’s a regional thing, so to get yourself some authentic boudin, you’ll need to head to the Bayou state.
Boudin is such an important part of Louisiana culinary tradition, that I suspect talking about it is likely to incite something akin to Chicago vs New York-style pizza wars. Understandable.
A typical boudin is made of pork, rice, onions, parsley and dry seasonings like salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic powder, but there are as many variations as you can imagine.
Although Cajuns trace their ancestry and culinary lineage back to France, Louisiana boudin is nothing like the French version (boudin blanc). Once in Louisiana, French traditions were altered to make use of what was available and rice was plentiful, so along with using every part of a butchered hog, they added rice and seasonings, stuffed it into sausage casings and bam! Boudin.
My first boudin bite happened at LeBleu’s Landing, one of the 34 stops on the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, and visitors can watch it being made, but the recipe is top secret!
At LeBleu’s Landing, they make about 300 pounds of boudin a day. The boudin itself is made by grinding up green onions, yellow onions and parsley. Then the pork and seasonings are ground together, and finally, it’s all mixed together with rice and broth for the perfect consistency. To make boudin balls, the dressing is cooled before being rolled.
To make boudin links, the dressing goes into the boudin stuffer, and then it’s pressure released into sausage casings in just the right amount. The whole process goes really fast. A half batch (about 225 links) takes just 14 or 15 minutes!
When it comes time to eat boudin, you can try it spicy or mild, and steamed or smoked. LeBleu’s even has bacon-wrapped smoked boudin, and my favorite — fried boudin balls!
As far as how to eat it, that’s entirely up to you. Some people eat it with the casing on, and some people prefer to squeeze it out of the casing (me). Of course, with boudin balls, there’s no casing at all, but no matter how you eat it, just try it!
Grab yourself some cracklins while you’re at LeBleu’s too. They’re fried pork skins, and surprisingly delicious!
You won’t find boudin just anywhere, so if you’re in Southwest Louisiana, get some! It’s one of those regional treats you simply have to try, at least once.
Have you tried Southwest Louisiana boudin? Where’s your favorite place to get it?