Cajun boudin is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. For those not in the know, Cajun boudin is a type of sausage traditionally made from a mixture of pork, rice and seasonings. Its origin and history date back two centuries or more to the Acadians who migrated to Louisiana from France and, later, from Nova Scotia. Though related, Cajun boudin differs greatly from the French boudin blanc and boudin noir.
Today, other non-traditional ingredients such as crawfish, shrimp, chicken and even alligator are sometimes used as a basis in Cajun boudin. Proportions vary significantly as do taste, texture and degree of spiciness. Generally, there are two types of traditional Cajun boudin – white and red (or blood). The red uses essentially the same basic recipe as the white, but incorporates fresh pork blood into the mix. The red version was, in fact, the original Cajun boudin, most prevalent long ago when families traditionally raised and butchered their own hogs.
Cajun boudin is not readily found outside of Louisiana, its home state. Red boudin is all but non-existent, save for a very few sources. I have enjoyed great success and satisfaction over the past 10+ years ordering and receiving boudin from various sources in Louisiana. At first, it was purely by hunt and peck. During the last 5 years or so, my efforts have been greatly aided by the advent of the following websites:
I prefer obtaining my boudin directly from the source, not through intermediaries such as Cajun Grocer, Cajun Supermarket or Louisiana Living. I want it as fresh made as possible. Very few Cajun boudin makers ship their product. Two sources that make a very fine fresh product and who will ship it directly to you at a very reasonable cost are Bourque’s in Port Barre and Poche’s in Breaux Bridge:
If you want to try a specific maker’s boudin or branch out and try a variety of boudin, the UPS Store in Lafayette, Louisiana at (337) 232-2442, will go to the source(s) and procure your boudin for you. They will competently pack it in dry ice inside a nice new, reusable Styrofoam container and ship it to you the very same day for overnight or 2nd day delivery. I have used their services many times with complete satisfaction – somewhat expensive, but worth every penny to me.
The UPS Store performs this service regularly for its customers. Being in Lafayette, often touted as the Cajun boudin capital of the world, they are close to quite a few makers of excellent boudin including Billeaud’s, Chop’s, JD’s, Johnson’s, NuNu’s and Tiny Prudhomme’s among others (see www.boudinlink.com for source info). I have typically had The UPS Store procure two or three different boudins for each shipment. I buy about 40 pounds per year in a single shipment for about $300, usually sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I usually get a few pounds of hog’s head cheese as well (another whole delicious topic).
The very best commercial boudin I have had (both red and white) is made by the Babineaux brothers, Larry and Rodney at:
Babineaux’s Slaughter House & Meat Market
1019 Babineaux Road
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
(337) 332-1961 (ask for Larry)
Babineaux’s boudin is made from fresh-slaughtered hogs. The batches that I have bought came from a single hog. Less than a week transpired between the time the hog was slaughtered and the day the boudin arrived at my doorstep. The taste of their boudin is different than that made from processed pork and will vary some depending upon the age, sex and diet of the donor hog. Moreover, Babineaux’s boudin recipe follows age-old traditions and uses the various parts of the hog, including the head (temple, jowl), belly and liver, not just the butt or shoulder as many other current day makers’ recipes do. This results in a very complex, deep, richly flavored umami unfamiliar to many people. Theirs is real, old school boudin as it was meant to be.
After reading and listening to his oral history on The Southern Boudin Trail and seeing his product pictured on The Boudin Link, John Saucier’s boudin remains on my wish list to try. Unfortunately, even The UPS Store doesn’t want to venture that far into the backcountry to procure it for me. Damn! That stuff must really be good. Well, I just may have to trek down there one day and get it myself.
Saucier’s Sausage Kitchen
2064 Saucier Rd.
Mamou, LA 70554
Here’s a link to an article showcasing boudin by both Mr. Saucier and the Babineaux brothers:
A final word. All of the fresh Louisiana boudin that I have purchased was already fully cooked, vacuum-sealed and frozen before shipment. It arrived frozen after overnight delivery or mostly frozen after 2nd day delivery. I have kept both red and white boudin in my freezer for a year or more with little, if any, notable deterioration in quality.
Please share any experiences or insights you may have regarding Cajun boudin, a most unique and delicious comfort food. I just finished a link of Bourque’s for breakfast. Yum!