Boudin balls are a delicious Southern treat! Boudin sausage is rolled into meatballs, coated in Panko breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. Serve with Comeback or Remoulade sauce for dipping.
While preparing this post, I found this quote on the Southern Foodways Alliance website that sums up the mystery that is boudin perfectly.
“I figure that about 80 percent of the boudin purchased in Louisiana is consumed before the purchaser has left the parking lot, and most of the rest is polished off in the car. In other words, Cajun boudin not only doesn’t get outside the state; it usually doesn’t even get home.”
– Calvin Trillin, from his essay, “The Missing Links: In Praise of the Cajun Foodstuff That Doesn’t Get Around.”
If you don’t live South of the Mason Dixon line, or in the vicinity of Louisiana for that matter, you may be scratching your head and wondering, “What is boudin?”
What is Boudin?
First things first, it’s pronounced “boo-dan.” It’s a sausage made up of cooked rice, ground pork, onions, green peppers, and seasonings. And it is awesome. That pretty much covers the basics.
Boudin is a Cajun version of peasant food. Back in the day, Cajun families held what they called a boucherie. It’s a communal pig slaughter. Where these days, your family might gather around the dinner table for a holiday meal, these guys gathered around the table to butcher a pig. Because there was no modern refrigeration, much of the meat was processed into items that could be cured. The rice was added to stretch the meat further.
Luckily, boucheries are no longer a requirement for boudin. I won’t even allow my husband to hold a crawfish boil in my backyard. I’m sure as heck not about to agree to a communal pig slaughtering. I found the boudin required for my boudin balls at my local grocery store.
If you don’t live close to Louisiana, it’s probably unlikely you will find boudin in your neck of the woods. This recipe for homemade boudin seems to be the standard (no pig slaughtering required). You can also purchase boudin online (not an affiliate link).
How to Make Boudin Balls
If you are able to find pre-made boudin, these little boudin balls come together very easily. You will need one pound of sausages. First, start by removing the meat from the casings and throw the casings away. Most store bought boudin has already been precooked. Simply break the sausage into smaller chunks. Mix in two lightly beaten large eggs to help hold the sausage together while it cooks.
Pour enough cooking oil into a large skillet (I prefer cast iron for frying). Make sure the oil is deep enough to immerse the balls halfway. Heat the oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer.
In a shallow dish, whisk together two large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce.
Next, spread 1 1/2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Panko are a Japanese-style of breadcrumbs that have a crunchier texture that standard breadcrumbs. You can usually find them right in the same aisle as regular breadcrumbs. Form the boudin into 1 ½ inch balls. This is roughly the size of a gold ball. Working in batches, roll balls in the egg mixture first, followed by the bread crumbs. Make sure to coat them evenly.
Place the balls in the hot oil, a few at a time, until they are light brown. They should be cooked through in about 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Everything needs a dipping sauce
Boudin balls taste like a fried meatball (and I ask you, how could that possibly be bad?). They are best served hot and crispy with a side sauce for dipping. In Louisiana, boudin balls may be served with remoulade sauce. But here in Mississippi, we have something called comeback sauce. I’ve heard the flavor is a combination of Thousand Island salad dressing and remoulade.
Boudin balls can be made up to two days in advance. Boudin balls that have been coated in breadcrumbs but not yet fried should be placed on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or parchment paper to absorb any moisture. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry.
Alternatively, place the baking sheet on a level surface in the freezer. Freeze for several hours until the uncooked boudin balls are frozen solid. Store the frozen boudin balls in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag. They will keep for up to three months. It is recommended that you allow the boudin balls to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frying.
Storing, Freezing and Reheating
Storage: Fried boudin balls can be stored in an airtight container with a lid. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Freezing: Store fried boudin balls in an airtight container with a lid or a plastic freezer bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Reheating: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the boudin balls in a single layer on a baking sheet. If frozen, bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through. If unfrozen, bake for 10 minutes until heated through.
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For the boudin balls:
- 1 pound homemade or store bought boudin sausage
- 4 large eggs divided, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs or more, if needed
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
For the boudin balls:
- If using store bought boudin, remove sausage from the casings. Discard the casings. Break the sausage up into smaller chunks.
- Add two lightly beaten large eggs. Mix the sausage and eggs together.
- Form the boudin into 1 ½ inch balls (a little smaller than a golf ball).
- In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining two eggs, salt, cayenne, and hot sauce.
- Spread the bread crumbs evenly in a separate bowl,
- Pour enough oil into a large skillet, deep enough to immerse the balls halfway. Heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer.
- Working in batches, roll balls in the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. Make sure to coat them evenly.
- Place the balls in the hot oil a few at a time. Fry until they are golden brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve warm.