I love the Louisiana Bayou, and suddenly, so do a lot of my friends who’ve never even set foot in the state. And it’s all due to A & E’s reality tv series, Duck Dynasty.
The series stars the Robertson family, and is called Duck Dynasty due to the Duck Commander duck call that Phil Alexander Robertson invented back in 1972 from Louisiana cedar trees. A few decades and a lot of money later, the whole family is involved in the business, which now has a huge tv following.
So where does the boudin fit in? Well, much to my surprise, most of my friends knew all about this traditional cajun food from the Robertson family matriarch, Miss Kay’s, cooking on the show. After all, everybody’s favorite foods are as much a part of family life as the day-to-day business of getting along.
I first tasted boudin back in 2005, when I attended the Lake Charles, LA, Mardi Gras. It was Fat Tuesday and I was hanging out with one of the local Krewes in their tent on the sports grounds–I must admit I enjoyed the Mardi Gras cake more than the boudin balls that particular day.
Boudin is a type of sausage typically made with pork liver and heart meat mixed with rice, while boudin balls, of course, are sausages rolled into a ball instead of long links. Unfortunately, one thing I’m not is a lover of liver.
This year, however, on a return visit to Lake Charles, I discovered that there are many different boudin recipes! As my guide from the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, Megan Hartman, said, “Every cook has a special recipe for boudin.”
And it’s all these different recipes that make the newly established Boudin Trail so tasty to explore! In fact you can eat anything from ‘gator boudin (made with alligator meat) to crawfish boudin (made with crawfish or “mud bugs”) to boudin rouge (has pork blood added).
While I only hit a few of the stops on the boudin trail, I certainly had some favorites.
Darby Guillory Jr. owns Famous Foods in Lake Charles, preparing his family’s traditional foods for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike. In fact, in the hour I spent at Famous Foods, dozens of customers stopped in to take out both boudin and cracklins.
The restaurant’s popularity was no doubt due in part to the fact that Famous Foods had already been recognized in 2011 for its great boudin, winning the Lake Charles Boudin Wars.
LeBleu’s Landing in Sulphur, Louisiana, just outside Lake Charles, also served up a fine selection of boudin. I especially enjoyed the bacon wrapped boudin that had been fried until crispy. Ummm! The cream cheese boudin stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeno was a little warm to my Canadian taste buds, but still a nice blend of favors.
Check out LeBleu’s menu online at: http://issuu.com/chadoab/docs/lebleu_s_landing_menu