Louisiana is known for its incredible cuisine, influenced by cultures ranging from French to Spanish to African. Popular dishes include gumbo, beignets, and po boys. But that’s far from all.
What is Boudin?
Boudin, pronounced BOO-DAN, is a dish unique to Southwest Louisiana but is now found throughout the state. The sausage is typically made up of pork heart or liver with rice, onions, peppers, and spices, stuffed into a casing.
The tradition comes from France originally but the Acadians put their own spin on it. The delicacy comes from the need to use as much of an animal as possible in the annual boucheries, or slaughtering events.
These events aren’t for the faint of heart as the entire pig is broken down with everything from the skin to the blood incorporated into different dishes.
From here, the links can be grilled, steamed, or smoked, although the mix that goes into the casing is generally cooked in advance. You can eat the entire thing with or without the casing, depending on your preference.
How Do You Eat Boudin?
The most common type of boudin is boudin blanc but it’s far from the only style. Boudin rouge incorporates the aforementioned pig blood for a red color.
Boudin can also be stuffed with other Louisiana ingredients like rabbit, alligator, and crawfish. Patties of boudin can be added to biscuits, sandwiches, and egg rolls.
While the sausage is salty, it can also be added to sweets. You might find it in a king cake, a Mardi Gras favorite dessert, and even in sweet potato and pecan pies.
What Are Boudin Balls?
Boudin balls are one of the most popular ways to eat boudin because they’re bite-sized and easy to travel with. Similar to arancini, balls of boudin are breaded or floured and then fried.
If you’re squeamish at the thought of traditional boudin, give boudin balls a try. You can generally find them in the same places you find boudin.
After lots of sampling, some of my favorites come from Bergeron’s in Shreveport, Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge, and Quebedeaux’s in Pineville, pictured above.
Where Can I Find Boudin?
Boudin is an item sold in gas station meat markets all over the state along with on restaurant menus. Louisianans bring boudin to family and friends as a gift.
If you’re traveling around the state looking for your boudin fix, there are a few ways to track it down. One is Boudin Link, an online resource for boudin fans. Another is the Southwest Louisiana Cajun Boudin Trail, a self-guided trail of boudin makers.
The Cajun Boudin Trail
The Cajun Boudin Trail in Southwest Louisiana focuses on the locally-owned grocery stores, meat markets, restaurants, and stores clustered around Lake Charles, Lafayette, Opelousas, and Broussard.
Not all of our favorites are part of the trail, but they are certainly worth visiting. There are also a number of shops that will ship boudin to your door.
Bergeron’s Boudin & Cajun Meats, Shreveport
Bergeron’s Boudin & Cajun Meats in Shreveport was my first foray into the world of boudin. The shop has additional locations in Bossier City, Covington, Gonzales, and Port Allen.
The meat shop opened in 2002 and has a deli and market along with a restaurant. Here you’ll find items like boudin balls, gumbo, burgers, and po boys.
Don’s Specialty Meats, Carencro
With two locations outside of Lafayette in Scott and Carencro, Don’s Specialty Meats is one of the most popular places to buy boudin. It’s been voted the “best in Acadiana” for nearly a decade and has been open since 1993.
The shop itself has snacks that you might find at a gas station along with a deli counter where you can get boudin, breakfast sandwiches, specialty game, and barbecue. They even ship!
Famous Foods, Sulphur
Famous Foods, set outside of Lake Charles, is “famous” for its laid-back setting, serving cracklins, boudin, and a counter with plate lunches like “hot link” sausage, barbecue sandwiches, turkey wings, and baked beans.
You can also find meat markets like Quebedeaux’s in North Louisiana. The counter-service cafe opened in 1996 and is family-owned.
Here you can enjoy boudin, cracklins, burgers, gumbo, tamales, and daily specials like shrimp etouffee, catfish, and country fried chicken.
The Sausage Link, Lake Charles
Lake Charles has plenty of meat markets but The Sausage Link is a full-service meat market. Watch the sausage being processed in a glass window or pick up links to take home.
Have you ever had boudin?
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