How To Cook Boudin – The Ultimate Guide
Boudin is an uber-famous sausage from Louisiana that is known for its smokey, earthy, and mildly spicy flavors. It is perhaps the best and most prevalent type of Cajun sausage and is cooked and served in several ways!
Boudin offers a hearty texture, loads of flavor, and sheer versatility due to the numerous ways it can be prepared – but how does one prepare boudin at home?
How to cook boudin? Boudin can be boiled, steamed, fried, baked, or be cooked using any heating method. The meat inside the sausage casing is usually pre-cooked and the casing itself needs to be cooked using any available heating method.
Read below to learn more about boudin, how it is made, how to cook it, and some of the best ways to have it!
What Is Boudin?
Boudin is a sausage made from pork meat, rice, vegetable, and spices. It is widely available in the southwest side of Louisiana where it can be seen marketed on billboards, street corners, restaurants, and more!
Back in the day, meat was considered to be a scarce resource so butchers would try out different ways to completely use every part of the animal to produce more products and to sell them to locals at a reasonable price.
It was through this zero-wastage philosophy that boudin was created. It was the perfect way to both, efficiently use the entire animal and to make a product that would last without the need for refrigeration.
Keep in mind, the inception of boudin took place around the 17th century, long before refrigeration. Also, this sausage has a mix of French and North American cuisine in it!
Makin boudin is a straightforward task that starts with the meat.
As mentioned, boudin was first made using trimmings, organs, and unwanted parts of a hog but with time, this changed due to the increasing demand for boudin in younger people who disliked the use of organ meat.
In fact, it was because of this reason that restaurants and sausage makers started to slowly change the definition of boudin, but kept the underlying recipe intact.
What was once a sausage made from scraps is now largely made from shoulder meat or other prime cuts!
After the meat has been cleaned and trimmed, it is then further cut into cubes and then processed with several ingredients.
Perhaps the most notable ingredient in boudin is rice! Rice adds bulk and gives the sausage a starchy and delicious flavor. It is partly what makes boudin such a fantastic snack, appetizer, and dinner food!
It is also widely consumed as a comfort food by many people and is paired with a lot of different vegetable sides as well.
Finally, the pork, rice, and spice mixture are then cured (if required, not necessary) or smoked depending on the type of boudin, and is then sealed in a casing.
What Does Boudin Taste Like?
Boudin has a varied taste depending on where you buy the product. This is the type of sausage that everyone adopts as their own which is why you will find regional taste differences.
However, the base flavors usually remain the same! Boudin is a mix of mildly spicy, starchy, earthy, and umami-laden flavors. Depending on the type, you can also find boudin with spring onions and other vegetables too.
There is also a variety called “blood boudin” that includes processed pork blood which gives the sausages a crimson and dark color and a very rich flavor.
During the turn of the 21st century, the sales of boudin had steadily been increasing, which also brought upon many interesting food innovations.
For example, boudin pie was a special delicacy that was caught on by some restaurants in Scott, LA.
Meanwhile, others were using boudin in all sorts of things such as:
- As a side dish with creamy boiled potatoes
- As a topping for poutine, and more!
Boudin can also be topped with Cajun spices or salt and pepper to further enhance its flavor.
This is a common practice while poaching the sausage, but it is largely optional, especially when it comes to blood boudin sausages that are usually the only variety of boudin that is sold uncooked.
How To Cook Boudin
Boudin can be cooked in numerous ways. Usually, the sausage is cooked with the casing on. The casing itself is edible and can be cooked via steaming or by applying direct heat.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent the sausage casing from bursting. Here are a few common methods for cooking boudin:
Microwaving is a convenient way to enjoy hot boudin any time of the day! To microwave, make sure that you add just enough links to fill the microwave chamber, do not overcrowd it or the sausages may not cook properly.
- Cook the sausage for about 3-4 minutes on full power using any microwave-safe container. Additionally, you can also cover the sausage with a paper towel to prevent splatters and mess.
- Once cooked, make sure that the internal temperature of boudin (at the center) is about 160°F. Allow the sausages to cool for about 3-4 minutes and enjoy hot boudin as it is or with your favorite sides!
Using the oven to cook boudin is great because it both slowly cooks the boudin from the outside which gives it a crisp exterior, and it thoroughly cooks the meat while keeping the inside moist and succulent.
- To cook several links of boudin, preheat the oven to 300°F for 10-15 minutes. A great pro tip before you cook the links would be to lightly oil the baking tray or the casings so that you get a satisfyingly crispy exterior. This step may also prevent the boudin from drying out!
- Cook the boudin at 300°F for 20 minutes. Move the links around every 5-8 minutes and check the internal temperature before serving. The boudin must be at 160°F at the center for it to be deemed safe to eat.
Remember, while the meat may already be cooked, the casing still needs to be rendered before consumption.
Poaching is the default and perhaps the most popular method of cooking boudin. This method allows for a large number of links to be cooked at the same time using one large pot.
- To poach boudin, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add Cajun seasonings or salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the links in the pot and allow the water to come back to a simmer. Do not boil the water again as it may cause the delicate casings to burst open—which would lead to a whole lot of an unappetizing mess!
- Just simmer the sausages for 10-15 minutes or until they slightly change color and the internal temperature reads 160°F.
Boudin can be streamed on any conventional steamer! This allows the sausages to retain most of their flavor and gives them a very moist texture as well.
This is our favorite way of cooking boudin and if you have a steamer handy then we highly recommend that you give this method a try!
You can use a double boiler, an electric rice cooker, or a steamer to cook the boudin. We recommend going with a double boiler as it is usually the most readily available option.
- Place enough water at the bottom of the steamer to create an adequate flow of steam.
- Add several links of boudin and let the sausages steam for about 15-20 minutes or until they change color and have an internal temperature of 160°F.
Pan Frying Or Air Frying
Boudin can also be cooked in a skillet with water/oil or in an air fryer!
- To cook the sausages in an air fryer, simply place a few sausages in the chamber after lightly oiling the surface with cooking spray (PAM) and cook at 400°F for 10-12 minutes.
- Inspect the sausages after the 10-minute mark to see if they have been cooked. The boudin should have a dark brownish color with an internal temperature of 160°F. You can also cook the sausages for longer for a crisper finish!
You can also cook the sausages in oil by cooking each side for about 5-8 minutes at medium heat.
Smoking Or Grilling
This may seem like a redundant method of cooking since the sausages are usually already precooked.
However, when it comes to several niche varieties of boudin, especially the uncooked ones, you will need to use a smoker!
This method of cooking will add a lot of flavor to the sausages and will also thoroughly cook them over an hour.
- Place the links in a preheated smoker (300°F) for 45 minutes to 1-hour and turn them once at the 30-minute mark.
- Check the internal temperature of the sausages and serve immediately!
- Grilling boudin is also a great way to get the most out of their flavor however, to effectively grill the sausages, you may have to use a light touch. Cook the boudin over a 300°F-heated grill and turn it every 5 minutes.
- Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes and serve after checking the internal temperature of the sausages.
Tips And Tricks
- Heating pre-cooked boudin is made to be a very easy task unless you are dealing with niche varieties. If you are unsure about how to cook uncooked boudin sausages then we highly recommend that you consult with the shop representative on cooking instructions.
- Raw and unopened links of boudin can last up to 6 months or more (if indicated) in the freezer. Opened links can last about 4-5 days in the fridge. Make sure you check with the manufacturer for more detailed storage information!
- Always check stored boudin before serving. Since this is a meat product mixed with vegetables and other ingredients, it is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. This is why you should always inspect each sausage in a link for signs of spoilage. Some signs include discoloration, bad smell, slime, green patches, black patches, and more.
- Cook the boudins in an open container. Closing the lid may cause them to overcook and the casings can become overly tender. This tip applies to all applicable methods listed above.
Using Cooked Boudin
As mentioned, cooked boudin can be used in several ways. While you can have boudin as it is, we recommend getting creative and using a bit of your imagination to cook this sausage and its meat!
For example, boudin meat can be topped with many gravies. You can try all sorts of pork, beef, and even chicken gravies to see what fits the best.
The meat can also be paired with rice dishes and can also be served as a side for several savory recipes too.
Our favorite is the unique boudin pie that is made with delicious yams, a crispy yet doughy crust, and lots of boudin meat! Some restaurants even serve deep-fried boudin balls with cheese in the middle!
Finally, it goes without saying but boudin also makes for a delicious breakfast item. Like with every meal of the day, there are hundreds of different methods you can use boudin.
One of our favorites is with bacon and a side of freshly brewed coffee!
Boudin is famous and well-known for a reason. It is simply one of the most versatile foods in Louisiana and has already spawned a billion-dollar industry that is set to grow tenfold in the coming decade!
Now that you know what boudin is and how it is cooked, here are a few related questions!
Is boudin only available in Louisiana?
Unfortunately, the availability of boudin is subject to different regions. In Louisiana, which hosts both the capital cities of boudin, this sausage is available almost everywhere but when it comes to other regions, hot boudin is a rarity.
Strangely enough, boudin is also hard to find in neighboring cities like New Orleans that have only a handful, if not less, restaurants that sell boudin.
Can boudin be made at home?
Absolutely! Boudin can be cooked in several different ways at home. You would just need the basic ingredients like pork meat, rice, and Cajun seasonings. You can also pair the mixture with vegetables, onions, and others.
Ideally, the best way to go about this is to find a well-reviewed recipe but you can also make a very basic boudin mixture at home if you know how to case sausages.
Please note that while curing salt is not required, you can adjust the recipe as per your requirements and storage goals.
Can you eat raw boudin?
Boudin is usually already cooked unless specified on the packaging or by the manufacturer. It is important to note, however, that boudin needs to be heated thoroughly before consumption, even if it is considered to be precooked.
The casing needs to be cooked via steaming, boiling, or any other heating method, but some people may also just squeeze out the filling from the casing while others eat the casing as it is too!
The best way to ensure a safe eating experience is to use a cooking thermometer. The temperature at which most food is safe to eat is considered to be 160°F, as highlighted by many health agencies.
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