It’s no secret that Southerners love their pork. Southern cuisine is very pork and chicken heavy, and it’s not uncommon to replace chicken for pork in a lot of creole, Cajun, low country or hill country style recipes. Sausage is very versatile bringing a variety of textures and flavors to dishes; it can be the star at breakfast in links or patties, or the rich smokey flavoring and hearty meat in red beans and rice, and the spicy contrast from Andouille to the sweet briny gulf shrimp in shrimp & grits. Even though Southerner’s consume sausage in so many ways, the process to how they are made is often a mystery. We’re going to shed some light on the sausage making process, and introduce you to a unique Southern sausage called Boudin. Let’s get grinding.
Boudin is a delicious Cajun sausage made from fatty pork and southern rice. The addition of rice doubles the amount of sausage being made stretching a meal for some “Hungry Southerners”. The combination of pork and rice, creates a texture and flavor that is synonymous with Cajun dishes, most of which include “The Trinity” (Bell Pepper, Onion, Celery), meat, and rice . Boudin can be found throughout Louisiana at specialty meat stores, gas stations and road side stands on just about every major highway in the state. How is it generally consumed? Most folks consume it warm, and eaten as if they were squeezing a tube of toothpaste, getting at all that meaty delicious goodness in the casing. Don’t worry, Boudin smoked and eaten off the grill ain’t bad either. Learning the process of making Boudin and duplicating this sausage ended up being a lesson in how to stuff casings.
Up until this point, I had never made stuffed sausage, only consumed it. Aside from a few online videos, a little Top Chef and the Food Network, I knew very little about the technique, but went into this experiment feeling rather confident that making Boudin wouldn’t be that hard. The process is simple, cube and boil the pork, steam the rice, chop the other ingredients, grind the pork, combine everything and stuff. Notice how I underlined the stuffing part, so as it turns out, this is the art of sausage making. I firmly believe that anyone given a meat grinder and some wooden spoons can handle the process up until it comes time to stuff the sausage. Based on my limited experience, I now have an appreciation for the feel required for someone to get the correct amount of stuffing, without air, in a sausage casing. I will admit, I used collagen casings thinking it would make things easier, over natural casings, but I’m regretting that decision. The effort, although trying, was well worth the reward for fresh Boudin sausage. Since it’s harder to find Boudin outside Cajun Country, I can now enjoy it whenever I like.
Here are some tips, to help you learn from my mistakes. If you’re like a lot of folks, and using your kitchenaid to make sausage, invest in the wooden food pusher. The included plastic pusher is completely worthless, and makes stuffing sausage more difficult; you will constantly fight to keep from pulling meat out of the grinder. Give natural casings a shot first. They appear to have more elasticity, which will aid in the tying off process; which kept causing me to burst overly stuffed collagen casings. Also be careful with recipes that might call for you to use the paddle attachment to mix your Boudin, doing so will quickly ruin the texture of your sausage, causing the pork and rice to turn to paste; avoid using food processors, as meat grinders, for the same reason. Also, after cooking the rice and meat, allow it to rest and cool down in the fridge for an hour or two, the cooling processing will help congeal the fat and make for better texture in your sausage. If all else fails, and stuffing isn’t your think, just make patties and cook it over cast iron for breakfast, or into balls, bread and fry!Stay Hungry Y’all! -The Hungry Southerner
- 2 1/2 lbs pork should or fatty roast
- 1 1/2 lbs pork liver (FRESH)
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 1 large vidalia onion – chopped fine
- 1 green bell pepper – chopped fine
- 1 cup green onion – chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley – chopped
- 2 tbls salt
- 2 tbls ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 tbls Cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere’s)
- 1 bunch natural hog casing *
First prepare all ingredients and cut both the pork and pork liver in to 1 inch cubes. Then place the pork and pork liver into separate pots of water and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer for about and hour to an hour and a half. Skim the surface, to remove the floating fat. Then prepare the rice, using 3 cups of water. Once the rice and pork are done, reserve one cup of water from the pork shoulder, then cover and transfer the meat and rice to the refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour. After cooling, run the pork and pork liver through a meat grinder. Next, combine with at wooden spoon the rice, pork, onion, green onion, bell pepper, parsley, salt, black pepper, Cajun seasoning and 1 cup of reserved liquid. Mix until the ingredients come together thoroughly, but not over stirring to the point of paste (you want to maintain some texture). Now using your sausage stuffer, stuff to desired length, or use freely to make Boudin balls or patties. Enjoy!
*Be sure to follow the instructions for soaking and preparing your natural casings, they require a little more work that collagen casings but well worth the effort