#18 Boudin

Crawfish, gumbo, and jambalaya may get all the glory when it comes to Acadian cuisine, but there is no more uniquely Cajun food than boudin. A simple food, boudin consists of cooked pork scraps, rice, onions, and seasoning stuffed into pig intestines. Nowadays, most places substitute pig intestines for artificial sausage casings, so the squeamish need not worry.

Boudin has a long history in Cajun culture, and can be traced as far back as the early 1800s, when French fur trapper Toussaint Charbonneau whipped up a batch of buffalo boudin for the famous exploring team Lewis and Clark. The boudin we know and love today is a result of poor Cajun families finding a use for the leftover scraps of pork and intestines after a boucherie (community hog slaughter). Boudin slowly evolved over the years, with each family refining and passing their secret recipes down to future generations.

One of the best things about boudin is that it’s a people’s food: simple, delicious, inexpensive, and portable. Sold by the link at convenience stores and local meat markets, and wrapped in thick white butchers paper, boudin is the Cajun man’s answer to the burrito. It’s the ultimate food for the Coonass who’s on the run. And Cajun’s don’t care where their boudin comes from either. Whether it’s from a fine restaurant (not likely), or the back of a gas station, all that matters is the end result. In a way, boudin is the ultimate in Cajun culinary meritocracy.

Boudin can be eaten in two ways: you can squeeze the boudin stuffing into your mouth with your fingers or teeth, or depending on the consistency of your link’s casing, you can bite into it like a sausage, casing and all. Either way, expect your hands end up greasy, so keep some napkins close by. And if you don’t have time for all dat mess, you can order up a batch of boudin balls, which are tiny rolled balls of boudin, deep fat fried, served piping hot. They’re like little Cajun donut holes, you can just pop them in your mouth.

Now fights have been known to break out over which boudin is the best. Cajun people defend their favorite links the same way most people defend their favorite football team. We usually tend to favor our home team and not some foreign store that’s 10 miles away. We also argue about all the different boudin qualities: spicy vs mild, crisp vs chewy casing, liver vs no liver, and the rice to meat ratio. Luckily, we’ve got an objective resources to help us decide. The Boudin Link, a comprehensive guide to the boudin of Acadiana, reviews and scores all of the major boudin outlets in Acadiana.  Another great read is The Southern Boudin Trail, which contains several interviews with some of the area’s top boudiniers.

Unfortunately, decent boudin is almost impossible to get outside of Cajun country. Sure, some major grocery chains sell vacuum packed boudin, but trust me, it’s just not the same. Next time you’re home visiting your family, don’t forget to stop by your local neighborhood convenience store, and fill up an ice chest with your favorite links.

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77 thoughts on “#18 Boudin

  1. Now you in my wheelhouse, chere’.

    The best boudin ever was Savoy’s Famous Boudin in South Lafayette. I know this because their daughter is my bestest friend in the whole wide world. We used to help them make boudin and it’s really only the best stuff that goes in it.

    We also used to work the Boudin Festival in Broussard each year, selling links for a buck a piece out of the “Boudin Wagon”. Good times. Good times.

    They sold their store and stopped making boudin for the public about 15 years ago. However, once or twice a year a select group of people are invited over for some boudin-makin’ and beer drinkin’. Mrs. Doris makes me up a batch to take home. If it’s wrapped in celaphane and white butcher paper, you can freeze it and then take it out and boil it for 10 minutes. Superb!

    Mr. Rob (Savoy) actually invented the Boudin Ball and they were first sold at the Boudin Festival in Broussard in 1981. I ate so many the first year we sold them that I couldn’t even look at boudin until the next year.

    The best boudin that you can buy nowadays is at NuNu’s in Youngsville or Best Stop in Scott. Everything else pales in comparison.

    BTW, the BEST breakfast is some cold boudin and a big glass of milk. Damn, now I’m hungry.

  2. I’ve never tried NuNu’s, but Best Stop is very good. Growing up, Poche’s boudin was rather fatty and gristly,
    but in recent years, they’ve changed and started putting out a top notch link.

    My favorite is spicy boudin with cold bottle of chocolate milk (chocolate soldiers).

    Interesting boudin history. Sounds like you’ve got all the good Cajun connections.

  3. Oh hell no – Savoy’s never ever came close to the perfection that was Johnson’s in Eunice. It was a pain in the ass to drive all the way out there, but we’d go every Saturday morning, stopping at Sandoz’s in Opelousas, to buy household sh!t and check out the wedding registries. Nothing like a Saturday morning in St. Landry Parish.

  4. I highly doubt you ever tasted Savoy’s and sorry, but I wouldn’t eat boudin from any place named Johnson’s.

    I’m extremely secure in my assertions. Savoy’s was boudin perfection. NuNu’s is the closest I’ve tasted but the skin is a little to “crispy”.

    Oh, and St. Landry Parish is a stone’s throw from Rapides Parish. ’nuff said.

  5. You didn’t talk about boudin sandwiches. Thats one of my favorite ways to eat it, on white bread with a little mayo. Of course I like it by itself too!

      • That’s my wife’s and daughter’s way to eat Boudin. I prefer mine in a big bowl of grits. Just heat up the boudin, open the casing and mix it all up. 🙂 Do the same with hog’s head cheese. Works the same in Cream-o-Wheat.

  6. That’s a new one for me. Never tried it on bread. Maybe I should add carbs to the list of things cajuns like, since only a coonass would make a rice and meat sandwich.

  7. you got that right. i’m not cajun myself, but my wife is. when i first moved here i was so shocked by how many meals were served with rice AND potato salad AND french bread. somehow the idea of having only one starch per meal was bred in me. but i’ve gotten over it. 🙂

  8. Yeah, that’s why the whole Atkins low carb craze never made sense to me. I can’t live without rice. I do try to substitute brown rice when possible, but there’s nothing like medium grain white rice covered with gravy or etoufee.

  9. mmmy boudin.

    you are right, sir. Once you leave cajun country- you can not get really good boudin- since I live in metro NOLA now, the best boudin I can get is Savoie’s in the vacuum pack- it is good , though, when I bring it to tailgate for LSU games- just throw it on the grill and go…

    I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would make red boudin- that was my favorite. But I haven’t seen that in a LOOOOONG time. I guess it’s not safe anymore or something?

    Now I want boudin for lunch. THANKS! LOL

      • I had never heard of “white” boudin until I met my wife at age 20. All the boudin we ate growing up was the “red” boudin, blood sausage. A bowl of hot grits and a link of red boudin mixed in it is breakfast heaven. I do the same with white when I can get any. Have to make a run to Scott and Best Stop soon. I’m running out here in Texas. Gonna have to try Clement’s one of these days but Abbeville is so of the beaten path for me. There is also an abatoir near Henderson that used to sell the blood boudin. Don’t know if they still do.

        Charlie

  10. Ahh the great boudin war ensues, reaching new heights as it reaches all the way to the internet.

    As far as the best boudin, Dons Specialty Meats in Carencro has hands down the best boudin around. The greatest part of that is that the store is about a quarter mile from my house. It would be in walking distance if it werent for the fact that the boudin would never make it home to the rest of the family if i walked there.

  11. We try to go to Cajun country every so often for a boudin “fix.” Never had the pleasure of trying Savoy’s, but we have tried all the others mentioned. Johnson’s was BY FAR the best. Nothing compares to their hot, spicey boudin. We have yet to find a suitable replacement although we tried very hard in January. Sampled boudin from 30+ places listed on The Boudin Link. NuNu’s was good, but not near hot enough. Will try again in a couple weeks. If you have suggestions, we’re game for it. From Texas and hungry for boudin !!!

  12. I have never had the pleasure to try the one’s mentioned here. I was raised on Ray’s in Opelousas. There are owned by some one else now, and very good. The real Ray’s has moved to the old Sunset highway in Opelousas. When In the area we always stop by. The best is boudin on Evangeline Maid Bread.

  13. Anyone eat the blood boudin or [url=”http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=557461&CCAID=FROOGLEIG557461″]Boudin Noir[/url]? I only ate some homemade by my brother in-law – he makes it good. But I can’t ever find it in stores. But I guess I found a loophole by ordering online.

  14. Sorry people, best place for boudin is Hebert’s in Abbeville. I don’t trust boudin that is outside the Central Acadiana coastal parishes. BTW, I’m glad someone else brought up Boudin sandwiches, I thought I was the only one that ever did that!

  15. Well coming from Mamou, LA, I like to more liver laden boudin from Mamou and Eunice. And Mr. Johnson is a Cajun as Cajun can be. He made great boudin. The one thing I have noticed is that the further South you go (starting in Mamou of course) the less liver and spice the boudin has. Not a bad thing.

  16. Smoked Boudin from Market Basket in south Lake Charles is my favorite. Hebert’s in Abbeville is a close second and Richard’s in Iowa is not bad either. 😉 Mayun am I hungry now.

    • Sonnier’s make a pretty good boudin…is not the best but the guy that own sonnier’s does he boudin for marke tbasket.

  17. Currently, my favorite boudin is Billeaud’s in Broussard. Ça c’est bon manger, cher!

    music maven, I remember when Savoy’s was on the corner of Verot School Rd. and Ambassador Caffrey (it might’ve still been New Flanders Rd. back then) and I also remember when they came out with boudin balls. I knew it was gonna be a hit. Good stuff. I miss that little store.

    And about not tasting boudin from a place called Johnson’s, how about Jeansonne’s? (Same name, different language.) Anyway, there’s a new place in Lafayette called Johnson’s Boucaniere that has some pretty tasty smoked meats, but alas, no boudin.

  18. If you’re Cajun, I suspect we all have stories about who has the best Boudin. My favorite Boudin today is from Billeaud’s in Broussard.

    Growing up in New Iberia, Bodin’s Boudin was by far the best in the area. He would always share a sample of Boudin with you when you came into his bouchere store to buy Boudin. It was cooked to perfection. The skin would easily rip when you pulled on it which made it very easy to eat all the skin, and the spicyness was always perfect.

    I played football for New Iberia Senior High. Every Sat. morning after the Friday night games, we had to watch a film of the game and review stats. After, we were treated to Bodin’s Boudin, as each of us on the team would get one big foot long link. Those were the good ole days!!!

  19. I the best boudin i’ve had has been Abe’s in Lake Charles or Peto’s in Moss Bluff….Also there’s some good boudin in Kinder too!

  20. Don’ Specialty meats in Carencro, Louisiana. Hands down.
    Comeaux’s is the best that is available in stores. You can get good boudin online at Cajun Grocer online.

  21. Boudin sandwches on sliced bread are good, but they’re even better made with fresh French bread like the ones sold at Pat’s on the Youngsville hwy. Pop the casing, spread the boudin and add a little mustard. Manger, mon ami. Billeaud’s and NuNu’s are great. I’ve been told that the new Rouse store makes a good one, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Anybody with a recommendatin ?

  22. Billy’s in Opelousas is my fave along with Don’s Speciality Meats & Ray’s in Opelousas (on the way to Sunset).

    Once at a Music Festival in the Opelousas Farmer’s Market Ms. Enola Prudhomme was making Red Boudin. *shudder*

    So I joked, “Don’t let the police catch you, it’s illegal” Her response was, “Sheriff Zerangue asked me to make this himself”

  23. You can buy red boudin in Avoyelles Parish. There’s a store called Kelone’s Grocery in Mansura that sells it. 2176 LeGlise St. (on the corner), (318) 964-5125. They also make regular boudin and it’s good too. I’ve actually never tried the red one. I’m not fond of eating blood. I like to have boudin for breakfast with some cane syrup on it. If you’re in the area and are headed to Marksville, try Juneau’s Cajun Meats, (318) 253-7729. They’re located across from the Paragon Casino. Best boudin and by far the best cracklins. They have stuffed chickens too, made with shrimp and crawfish stuffing. Nice, clean store and friendly people.

  24. Johnson’s Boucaniere is owned by the family of the man that had the original Johnson’s in Eunice. Some of the best cajun boudin can be found at the Mowata Store (Hwy. 13 b/n Eunice and Crowley) they also make their own sausage, stuffed chickens, cracklins and a variety of other products. Everything they sell is made by them. They even raise poultry that they sell dressed through the store. Nothing beats the taste of a yard raised bird. People go from all over the country to buy their boudin and sausage as well.

  25. I just had a friend send me this link, and I love it! I was born in Lafayette but grew up in west Texas. I am very proud of my cajun heritage.

    Lately I have had the envie for some good boudin, browned in a cast iron skillet til the casing is good and crisp and wrapped in a piece of Evangeline Maid bread. (Ya gotta have something to soak up all that good grease, chere.) Talk about good!! I think I’m gonna have to just break down and order some online because you just can’t get good boudin in Texas.

    Hope you post something new soon!! I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog and walking down memory lane.

    • Stop dat Allons, you makin me hungry. And I don run out of boudin. Agree with you on boudin in TX. Goes for gumbo, cracklin, hog head cheese etc. They just don’t get it.

  26. I was ‘home’ for a visit to New Iberia this past New Years. Before going to visit an old friend I felt I needed to ‘bring’ something! So… I went to what the locals called the best boucherie in town, got 2 lbs. of boudin (one for her and one for me). Off I went for a wonderful visit with my dear friend Janice over the best boudin I have eaten in years! Can’t beat fresh!!

    • Nancy, Only a pound each. That wouldn’t make breakfast for me. LOL When we make a pass to Best Stop on the way back to TX I pick 20-40 lbs frozen. Keeps very well for 6 months frozen and if well wrapped even longer.
      But I do like fresh and any way it’s served, I’ll eat it. Can do w/out smoked though. Doesn’t add anything in my book.

    • On our way back home to opelousas, louisiana to pick up the items to make our own boudin. and cracklins.
      I live in dallas, so watch out for some of the best tasting boudin in dallas.

  27. On our way back home to opelousas, louisiana to pick up the items to make our own boudin. .
    I live in dallas, so watch out for some of the best tasting boudin in dallas.

  28. Bruce’s U-Need-a-Butcher off 12th in Lafayette is the best, hands down. Anyone implying that there is good boudin north of I-10 or south of University is obviously a Yankee or a Yankee sympathizer.

  29. I’m from Morgan City (Bayou Vista). My Dad ran a small business here in the 80’s and 90’s called Cart’s Sausage & Boudin. The boudin would sell out before it even cooled down. Unfortunately my Dad ended up closing down the business due to his health. My husband and I have been talking a lot about starting up the business again…with Dad’s blessing, of course. I’m glad to see there are still a lot of boudin lovers out there!

  30. Angie, Even with the way this are these days, I would love to think that starting up a Boudin business would be awesome!
    Not enough of them around… I would visit! *smile*

  31. Had to make two trips to Laf. on the last two weekends. Bought about 20# of frozen boudin from Best Stop both weekends. Put it in a cooler with a pound of dry ice, also sold at Best Stop, was still frozen solid when I got home. Had some with grits yesterday. Also bought hog head cheese and cracklin, and an Evangeline Maid bread. I’m set for a while ’cause I’ve got to ration myself.
    @Angie, go for it. It’s a lot of work though. But you know that already. Good luck.
    BTW, tried Don’s boudin. Good, but I like Best Stop.

  32. I the best boudin i’ve had has been Abe’s in Lake Charles!!!! YES I grew up on this and it is seriously good. Moved to Shreveport about 19 years ago and was SO upset and surprized that you just can’t get Boudin here…not anything you’d actually eat anyway. Nowdays when I head south to God’s country I take an icechest and stop in opelousas at the Texaco at exit 17 (I think) and we load up, boudin and cracklins! Lately I’ve started making my own…it took a little trial and error but it’s getting there!

  33. Lynard,

    I grew up blocks away from Cooney’s Bakery in Opelousas. The best french bread I ever ate. I moved to Texas in 1980 and cannot find a french bread to live up to Cooney’s. Do any of you know where I can get an equivalent bread?

  34. I am Torn between Best Stop and Superette Slaughter house in Eunice they are both real good. One thing is for sure I wish i could still find blood boudin

  35. 2foot, I found some a few years ago at an abatoir just north of I-10. I was a couple of miles from one of the Breaux Bridge exits. I grew up on blood boudin. Had never heard of white boudin until I met my wife’s family. I think there are Federal laws about the transportation of blood and storage that makes it almost impossible to get it anywhere except where the actual hog killing occurs. My mouth is watering and my stomach is growling for some right now. If i can, I’ll let this site know where the abatoir is.

  36. Gotta agree with ya, I too used to enjoy the red/blod boudin – but it is almost impossible to find now because of the laws of selling blood sausage.

    I have tried some with lots of liver and some with no liver in it and enjoyed both. Good boudin is good no matter what, I think we enjoy the spices and flavors so much that they are all good. What I do not like are the ones that over do the rice content by trying to stretch it and it’s more or less nothing more than flavored rice sausage. Thats a turn off.
    Man – good hot boudin in the morning with a bowl of grits – thats good yeh!

  37. Hi Nolan, I’ll have to admit that I’m no boudin expert and certainly haven’t sampled nearly as many boudin links as you have. In fact, I’ve only sampled a few of the many you have. But two of those show that we have our own tastes in boudin, as in everything else. I’ve had boudin from Don’s and Best Stop in Scott, La. I liked them both but certainly liked Best Stop better. Really can’t remember exactly why now, it was a while ago, but will travel the extra mile or two off I-10 for boudin at The Best Stop. Thanks for all the recommendations. I’ll have to try at least some of them next time I’m in my home state.

  38. now, the comment about similarity to Scottish haggis is not all that far off the mark. Except that they use sheep instead of pigs. So you have sheeps, heart, lungs etc, all minced up and mixed with oatmeal and or barley and stuffed into a pigs stomach. The ingredients are all pre-seasoned and cooked before stuffing, then all that is required is to boil it up in the bag just like boudin. Poor peoples food and excellent nourishment.

  39. Just left the boudin tasting in Parc San Souci, Lafayette. They had about 20 sellers and all kinds, including red boudin, smoked boudin, boudin balls, brown rice boudin, turkey boudin and more. But it was Nunu’s boudin that won me!

  40. To all those who don’t think there’s any great boudain in Texas need to get OUT OUT OUT of Houston and take the 90-100 minute trip eastward to Port Arthur. Go to Nick’s Grocery on 39th St (@ Rachel) and grab several pounds of their pork boudain to bring back with you. This is, hands down, the best boudain in Texas.

    Honorable mention goes to Burt’s meat market in Houston, Denver Harbor neighborhood. The regular pork boudain is downright bland, but the spicy is pretty good. Both have a hint of Mexican spices, to let you know who’s doing the work. It does the job, but Nick’s in PAT is the real deal and worth the road trip.

    • I grew up in Port Arthur and have eaten several miles of NIck’s boudin. It’s the best available in the S.E. Texas region. DJ’s is a mass produced, distant second that is sold in many supermarkets in the area. It’s not bad and is vacuum packed for long freezer life. It also does well on the grill, the skin gets crispy and makes a great sandwich.

      • Thanks for the hints, guys. I just got back from LA and stopped at The Best Stop and picked up nearly 30# of frozen boudin. Kept it frozen with dry ice sold at TBS. I find it will keep for months in my freezer. It loses a very little in quality but when I mix it with grits or cream-o-wheat it’s just fine. I also give it away to friends, and if they’re nice, to family. 🙂

  41. I used to “Love” Mowata Boudin. Early’s in Scott was great! I’m within walking distance to Peto’s, my current favorite! Family tells me my Great Grandpa (Pelican Meat Market) sold his equipment and Boudin Recipe to Johnny Abraham(Abe’s).Some is better than others, but I just Love boudin!! My Uncle used to eat it in a ice cream cone??? Never tried it, but I guess it’s like crackers! 🙂

  42. I enjoyed your article. I recently saw “boudain” (spelled differently on the pkg) and im looking for ways to prepare it. I like the idea of frying them in balls, but I dont know what to serve them with. Any suggestions?

  43. Savoy’s was the best hands down! “They were like family to us”. Billeaud’s in Broussard a close second. Now I eat NuNu’s about twice a week … it’s so close, I need to try those in Abbeville though to be fair. I’m defiantly partial to those made south of the I10 corridor though!

  44. Growing up in lake Arthur the best boudin was at boudin king in Jennings nowadays I live in sulphur and now I love market basket boudin in fact I just had some for lunch

    • I’m from Grand Junction, Colorado. We don’t have boudin here. I rode my harley with a cajun friend to the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and had some great boudin. I love just how delicious and convenient it is. I decided to try my hand at making some using an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I couldn’t find pork liver and used beef heart instead and it came out pretty good but I really miss Louisiana and all the friendly people and all the delicious food. I can’t wait to go back.

  45. Personally I can attest to the fact that if you don’t eat boudin with saltine crackers and mustard you will go straight to hell. It’s just to the northeast of Dallas, in my experience.

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