Boudin Balls Are A Traditional Louisiana Cuisine Filled With Deliciousness

While some people might associate Louisiana cuisine with a hearty muffuletta, crawfish etouffee, or that potent Hurricane cocktail, lesser-known boudin balls are a classic Cajun snack that can satisfy big cravings. Made from boudin "sausage," a particular combination of seasoned ground pork and cooked rice, boudin balls bring together the flavors and traditions of Louisiana's Creole and Cajun cultures. Although they might appear simple on the surface, the flavors are quite complex, and making boudin balls from scratch can be an exacting, time-consuming process. 

Basic boudin ball recipes call for boudin sausage to be removed from its casings and shaped into small balls, which are coated in flour, beaten eggs, and seasoned breadcrumbs, and then fried in oil. The fried bites are typically served with a dipping sauce, such as a traditional remoulade recipe, or a spicy Cajun mustard. They are usually enjoyed as an appetizer, breakfast, or snack.

If you make a batch of boudin balls at home, know that the key to this scrumptious, Cajun-spiced sausage ball is proper frying. From avoiding a dry center to absorbing too much oil, the potential pitfalls are many. A watchful eye and smart cooking techniques can help ensure the final result has everyone saying "Ça c'est bon!" 

Boudin, an iconic sausage

Boudin balls get their flavor from their namesake sausage, boudin. This particular style of sausage is accredited to French descendants from the Acadian regions along the northern Atlantic seaboard and has evolved into being considered a staple of Cajun cuisine.  

The "sausage of the South" is usually made from a combination of slow-cooked cuts of pork including the liver and the heart, mixed with cooked rice and other seasonings. The pork and rice mixture is stuffed in sausage casings and cooked again. Boudin sausage can be enjoyed whole or it can be removed from its casing, like when making boudin balls. It can be grilled, steamed, fried, or cooked in an oven.  

Although pork is the traditional meat used in the iconic sausage, variations have become more prevalent over the years. From stuffing boudin with poultry options like chicken, turkey, or duck, to using game such as rabbit or venison, chefs and home cooks continue to evolve the classic Louisiana dish. Some even use local favorites like crawfish and alligator to bring a taste of the bayou to boudin.

Whether grabbed as a quick snack while stopping for gas or savored at an elegant, white-tablecloth restaurant, boudin, and those boudin balls, are a Louisiana icon that draws people in from far and wide.

Journey down the boudin trail

Some people make a pilgrimage to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, jazz, and storied restaurants; while others head to Baton Rouge for the legendary LSU tailgate. Then there are those who journey down the "Cajun Boudin Trail" for lessons in history and local deliciousness. From food tours that follow a curated path to individual quests to find the ultimate boudin ball, people touring the boudin trail visit locations across Louisiana to savor their time-honored recipes. Although several stops along the trail can debate their claims as the "Boudin Capital of the World," there are a few locations that really are worth the trip.

Best Stop in Scott, La., is a favorite locale along the so-called boudin trail. The supermarket claims on its website that it sells thousands of pounds of boudin sausage a day to fans of its porky bite. Another popular stop in Scott is Billy's Boudin, which offers boudin balls stuffed with cheese, and twists on balls like boudin pistolettes and boudin rollups. Alexander's Speciality Meats in Lafayette, and Billeaud's Meat and Grocery in Broussard are also often included in roundups of best places to visit for boudin.

Whether your boudin journey is short or long, the traditional Louisiana cuisine is a reason to take the flavor trip. Boudin balls might not be the most talked about traditional Louisiana cuisine, but they are a taste that keeps the conversation, and the good times, rolling.