Southwest Louisiana’s Boudin Trail
The Missing Link Between Culture and Cuisine in Lake Charles, LA
Steamed Boudin Sausage Along the Boudin Trail in Southwest Louisiana
The sausage makers and culinary aficionados in Southwestern Louisiana are so proud of their boudin sausage that they’ve created a driving trail (itinerary) to guide visitors to the best sources of this unique hybrid link that marries traditional sausage with ingredients commonly found in Cajun and Creole cooking.
Made from rice, spices, and some combination of pork, crawfish, shrimp, occasionally gator, or any other meat that’s available, Boudin is a Cajun/Creole sausage produced in many parts of Louisiana. Boudin recipes borrow from the best (or “wurst) of Louisiana’s traditional Cajun, Creole, and German foodways.
Originally the use of rice as a filler was a way to stretch boudin when times were tight, and meat was scarce, or not affordable. Now, even in good times, boudin makers keep the rice in their recipes for its texture, richness, and because, now, that’s just how it’s done.
Boudin can be eaten many ways. Boudin balls of breaded and fried boudin mixture (out of the casing) are found on Cajun/Creole restaurant menus throughout Louisiana. Another common way of eating boudin is to simply squeeze the cooked filling out of the casing and into your mouth. It’s kind of like sucking a sausage (as you might the head of a crawfish).
As a metric for Cajun & Creole culture, boudin is a pretty good standard. Packed with ingredients common throughout Cajun/Creole country, boudin reflects local cuisine. With recipes that vary widely by season, locality, personality, tradition, and cost, boudin mirrors the lives and history of the people who produce it. And, in that it is only widely available in close proximity to Southwest Louisiana, boudin is reflective of the place where it was born. It just may be the ideal cultural referent to accompany beer and hot sauce.
What is the Boudin Trail
The Boudin Trail is a group of restaurants, stores, markets, and purveyors located throughout the southwestern corner of Louisiana that specialize in making and/or selling boudin. All seventeen stops on the Boudin Trail are within about 30 miles of downtown Lake Charles. It’s such a fun, easy, and tasty drive that, if he or she has the stomach for it, the adventurous gourmand could easily visit every stop on the trail in one day.
While the basic process for making boudin is pretty much the same from one link to the next, the ingredients vary quite a bit from one type to another. Here’s a primer on the most popular varieties:
- Alligator Boudin – Made with cooked gator meat and rice
- Boudin Blanc – The meat and casing are light in color
- Crawfish Boudin – Made using cooked crawfish tails
- Hot Boudin – Made using peppers and other hot spices to crank the heat up a bit
- Mild Boudin – Many of the flavor spices are the same as the hot boudin, but the hot stuff has been left out (or most of it)
- Shrimp Boudin – Made with cooked shrimp
- Smoked Boudin – These sausages are filled and then run through the smokehouse to give them a nice smoky flavor.
How To Cook Boudin
It’s best to be absolutely certain by asking when you buy, but locally sold boudin along the Boudin Trail is pre-cooked and can simply be heated through and eaten. That said, there are several preferred ways of preparing it.
- Baked – Heat your boudin links in a 300 degree oven until the casings are nice and crispy and the filling is heated through.
- Boiled – Boil the links in a pot of water for about five minutes
- Barbecued – Heat them on a grill or BBQ pit to infuse them with a smoky flavor and crisp the casing.
- Microwaved – Nuke your boudin
- Steamed – Steam your sausages in a rice cooker, slow cooker, or other steamer.
Seventeen Stops on the Boudin Trail:
Comeaux’s Cajun Gold
802 E. 4th St., 337-786-3097
Richard’s Boudin and Seafood Mart
2250 E. Napoleon St., 337-625-8474
The Sausage Link
2400 E. Napoleon St., 337-625-2030
B&O Kitchen and Grocery
3011 E. Burton St., 337-625-4637
1730 S. Beglis Pkwy., 337-625-9282
Bar-B-Que Pit Stop
2400 A Westwood Rd., 337- 433-7818
Cajun Cowboy’s Restaurant
1312 Gum Cove Rd., 337-589-3520
Moss Bluff, Louisiana
104 Bruce Cir., 337- 855-3555
Lake Charles, Louisiana
1833 Gerstner Memorial Dr., 337-436-0045
Billedeaux’s Cajun Kitchen
2633 Fruge St., 337-439-9944
Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen
5614 1833 Gerstner Memorial Dr., 337-474-3731
2124 Broad St., 337-439-8789
Homsi’s Tobacco and Beer
2612 Kirkman St., 337-439-2323
4431 Nelson Rd., 337-477-4868
Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen
105 U.S. 165, 337-582-3184
Cameron Parish, Louisiana
620 Main St., in Hackberry, 337-762-4632
Brown’s Neighborhood Market
10051 Gulf Hwy. in Lake Charles, 337-905-3013
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