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Boudin: The Beloved Sausage of Cajun Country

Pronounced boo-dan, or even boo-deh, this Cajun delicacy is one of the most delicious foods in the South. Cajun boudin is a sausage made typically out of pork, rice and seasonings. But don't ask a boudin Chef for their seasonings or recipe. Those are closely guarded secrets.

The Staple Meat

Even though the seasonings of the pork sausage are kept hush-hush, it's no secret that Cajun food is out of this world. It's rich, it's zesty and it's full of different ingredients. Boudin is no different.

The sausage combines pork meat with the parts of a hog that aren't preservable. Get your taste buds ready for hearts, livers, kidneys and belly meat! Don't worry though, they add incredible flavor and nutrition to the final product. All that good stuff is ground up and mixed with dirty rice, different kinds of onions, and those special seasonings.  The final step means squeezing the mixture into sausage casing.

Try the Cajun Sausage

Cook boudin by being either simmering it, or steaming it. Or you can try cooking it in the oven. Cooking it in the oven means turning over the sausage every so often to make sure the skin is crispy. Microwaving the delicacy also works, but the crispy skin comes from being baked, simmered, or steamed. All you have to do is heat it through. Typically, the sausage comes pre-cooked.

There are a few ways to eat the tasty sausage. Squeezed it out of the casing and eat it by hand. This is particularly messy, so arm yourself with some napkins or wet naps. Boudin can also come in "boudin balls". These little guys are balls of sausage rolled up, fried, and served hot!

These days, boudin comes from a variety of other meats. Chicken, alligator, crawfish and even shrimp serve as bases for the sausage.

The Cajun delicacy has evolved over a few centuries. The sausage came to the south by way of Acadians, descendants of French settlers and natives of the Acadian region. Boudin in Louisiana differs greatly from boudin of France.

The boudin in Cajun Country today is a result of necessity and frugality by the natives of the area. Yearly, families would get together for hog slaughter (known as a boucherie) to prepare for the winter. They needed to use the whole pig to make sure nothing went to waste. These boucheries became family affairs, and often turned into celebrations. It's is an important part of the history of Cajun country, and locals take pride in it.

Where to Get the Good Stuff

Boudin lives in the heart of Cajun Country, Louisiana. It's particularly easy to find in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge. The "Southwest Boudin Trail" is an incredible way to taste the variety of flavors of Cajun sausage. The trail includes 25 different restaurants that line U.S. 1o in Louisiana. Beginning in Lake Charles, the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail winds it's way through the best local joints in Cajun Country.

Southern Foodways Alliance also offers a tour of the best places to try the sausage. From mom and pop shops to corner groceries and gas stations, boudin is available all over. And it's easy on a budget. Need to get your hands on some boudin, but don't have the chance to head down to Louisiana? No problem. There are tons of Cajun groceries who ship boudin all over.

The State of Louisiana even declared the city of Scott as the Boudin Capital of the World.

The meat is also popular in some smaller areas like Ville Platte in Louisiana, and even in eastern Texas. Eastern Texas is home to many Cajuns, helping increase the popularity of the finger lickin' good sausage. If you're in Beaumont, Texas you'll have to stop in to DJ's Boudain for a taste of their famous "Cajun Caviar".

Order up, and satisfy your inner ragin' Cajun with the best kept secret of the Gulf Coast.

This article was originally published in 2017.

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