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Eating in Louisiana’s Outback – Boudin

March 25, 2014 Food & Beverage No Comments Email Email

Philadelphia might have the cheese-steak sandwich. New York may boast of it’s pizza, and Texas has barbecue — but Southwest  Louisiana has boudin, and eating it guarantees that a visitor will leave with a tingling palate, full stomach and an official certificate of their becoming a true Louisianian.

Boudin, a sausage made with meat and rice, is generally considered the signature food of Southwest Louisiana.

It’s a culinary gift from the French Cajuns who settled in Louisiana after being sent out of Nova Scotia in the 1700s by the British. The sausage and its many recipes originated in the prairie regions of the Bayou State and traveled to Calcasieu Parish.152995_num458728_168x168

Years ago, Cajun families would get together to slaughter a hog, an event known as a boucherie. The families left nothing to waste, so boudin was made with the leftover parts of the animal.

Today, boudin is made with ground pork, liver, rice, parsley, onions, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and other seasonings that vary from cook to cook. The sausage can be steamed or smoked, much to the delight of many residents.

In recent years many boudin producers have gotten creative by using shrimp, crawfish and alligator to mix with the rice that is eventually stuffed into natural casings. As the regions eaters get more health savvy, boudin –– if you do a little searching –– can also be found with organic ingredients. Some truly enterprising producers make vegetarian boudin.

Boudin in these parts is made with lots of meat and spices and less liver and parsley like a boudin eater will find in the eastern parts of 152995_num458729_168x168Louisiana.

But boudin, even in Louisiana’s Outback, is left up to interpretation by the person who makes it. The sausages’ moisture, coarseness of the stuffing, stiffness of the casing and the meat-to-rice ratio vary.

The best way to find your favorite boudin is to sample it. In Southwest Louisiana that means travelling the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail along U.S. Interstate 10 and visiting any mom and pop food establishment, specialty meat shop, or grocery store that has boudin fresh or packaged.

For instance, in In Sulphur, due east of Vinton and home to some of Louisiana’s best amateur sporting complexes are an assortment 152995_num458730_168x168of shops to eat boudin like The Sausage Link (2400 E. Napolean St, 337-625-2030) or The Boiling Point (1730 South Beglis Parkway, 337-625-9282).

Drive into Lake Charles, the largest city in Calcasieu Parish and eat boudin at Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen (5614 La. 14, 337-474-3731), Billedeaux’s Cajun Kitchen (2633 Fruge St., 337-439-9944), Leonard’s Food Quarters (1708 Gerstner Memorial Dr., 337-494-0618), Abe’s (1833 La. 14, 337-433-0152) and Market Basket #18 (4431 Nelson Road, 337-477-4868).

North of Lake Charles, off of La. 14 is Moss Bluff, home to Peto’s Meat Market (104 Bruce Circle, 337-855-0036). And right outside of Lake Charles, due east on Interstate 10 in the town of Iowa lies Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen (105 U.S. 165, 337-582-3184).

To find all of the 27 stops on the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, log on to www.visitlakecharles.org/boudintrail.

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