A Few Words About Boudin Balls

Errol Laborde

Not that I have been to many cocktail parties recently, but there have been two where among the items served was boudin balls. On both occasions I was excited to take one, which usually comes with a sauce on the side for dipping; on both occasions I was disappointed. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t special. If they had a taste it was more like deep-fried pork-flavored air – not the savory country sausage.

This made me wonder: Should there be boudin balls at all? Not only is it relatively recently that boudin in any form has made its way into cocktail parties, it’s really fairly new as a city food. I remember boudin as a kid, but only from visiting relatives in the outback. Rather than being factory produced, the sausage, which consists of ground pork, seasonings and rice, was made by local folks working in a backyard as part of a boucherie. After they killed a hog, different foods were made from different parts. The lady who stuffed the boudin into a skin might be working next to the hogshead cheese maker. Boudin balls! It seems too corporate – too much like something that came from a marketing department rather than a meat grinder.

It isn’t that I’m adamantly opposed to the dish, which now has the uppity status of being an hors d’oeuvre, its just that it doesn’t seem right – like someone making crawfish ice cream. (Please don’t.)
Which raises the question: If a party-giver likes boudin so much, why not serve the real thing? Why not buy some links, put them in the oven, cut them into toothpick-ready pieces, and serve – no sauces needed? There will be less deep-fried air and more meat and spices.

If boudin has come to the city, city folks deserve the real thing – at least while they’re waiting for cracklin’ cupcakes.

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Reader Comments:
Dec 28, 2013 03:02 pm
 Posted by  Billsd

You have the bad luck of getting lousy boudin which was used to make lousy boudin balls. Here in Acadiana boudin balls have been around since boudin. In the New Orleans area the available boudin is commercial boudin and usually a product made in Texas, kind of like picante sauce made in New York. Commercial boudin has excessive rice filler which dilutes the taste and when made into a boudin ball puffs up and you get something akin to styrofoam. There are numerous places around Lafayette that makes outstanding boudin and boudin balls. Places like "Best Stop" in Scott or "Champagne's" here in Carencro or "Poche's" in Poche Bridge just north of Breaux Bridge. Boudin has to have the proper ratios of pork liver and ground pork and rice filler. The rice should be between 15% to 20% of the boudin and acts more as a binder than a simple filler. If there is not enough liver the boudin tends to have sub-par flavor. Boudin bals made with good boudin are wonderful. They should be dense and flavorful, unlike the fluffy flavorless balls made with commercial boudin. Also boudin balls ARE NEVER SERVED WITH A DIPPING SAUCE. That is just plain weird. Getting good boudin in New Orleans is like getting a good poorboy here in Acadiana. There are only a few places to get a good poorboy here in Acadiana. Most call them poboys and that is appropriate as they are half assed poorboys made on HOGIE bread or submarine sandwich bread. The roast beef poboys here are cold and the only sauce is mayonnaise. There are only 4 places I have found here that makes a New Orleans poorboy. Many of the Cajun restaurants here are wonderful but if you order a poboy, out comes the hogie bread.

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