POSTED Wed. Nov 2, 2016

Events

Boudin! Bourbon! Beer!

This Friday (Nov 4) marks the annual Boudin, Bourbon & Beer Festival, where 60 of the nation’s best chefs come together for the love of the event’s namesake fare, all in support of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.

The celebration, a 21 and over affair, kicks off in in Champion’s Square from 6-10:30pm on Nov 4. With that said, the party originated in the parking lot between Cochon and Emeril’s in the Warehouse District.

Today, the event brings in around 5,000 people. “We wanted something to celebrate Louisiana and something more accessible to locals,” says co-honorary Chair Chef Steven Stryjewski. “It is a lot of fun, great music, big dance floor – lots of opportunity to boogie and tons of good food.”

The 2016 musical lineup features the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Banditos, Anderson East, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. An open bar with beer from Abita, specialty cocktails from Buffalo Trace and a selection of wine will be served to wet the palate for the array of boudin-inspired creations.

The event is sure to be lively. “Get your hands dirty,” says Cory Bahr, of Heritage Catering in Monroe. “Get your food, get your drink and don’t be shy. If you start saying ‘I’ll come back,’ you’ll miss out because people come with a voracious attitude for a great time and great food and drink.”

Best Spots for Boudin

Lovers of boudin will usually direct you outside of New Orleans for the best of the best. The tasty blend of meat, rice, onion, green pepper and seasoning is a Cajun speciality, and as such, the best examples can be found in Cajun country. With that sai,d we’re opening with two Orleans parish favorites.

Cheezy Cajun
3325 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
This St Claude Ave. spot combines a traditional Cajun meat market with artisanal cheeses from Wisconsin. They offer a dine-in menu and are fully stocked with boudin to carry out from their prepared food section.

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
This New Orleans hotspot from the Link Restaurant Group serves up a classier boudin in-house or packaged to go. Their recipe uses poblano peppers and chicken livers, giving an elevated flavor to a traditional rice-to-meat ratio.

Best Stop
615 LA-93, Scott, LA 70583
Voted number 1 for 16 consecutive years by the Times of Acadiana Readers Poll, boudin here comes in the form of two links per pound. Their recipe? A combination of pork meat (including liver); onions, bell peppers, red pepper, black pepper and salt boiled and then ground; mixed with rice and more seasoning before being stuffed into a sausage-like casing.

Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin
523 Apollo Rd, Scott, LA 70583
At this bare-bones shop, boudin balls are the hands down favorite. Also on the all-star list are their boudin egg rolls with pepper jack cheese – perhaps what dreams are made of.

Boudreaux’s Boudin & Cajun Meats
4628 LA-22, Mandeville, LA 70471
Fresh smoked boudin satisfies palates on the North Shore. These folks serve up professionally butchered Cajun-inspired dishes for all of your down-home cravings.

Chevron
3605 N Causeway Blvd, Metairie, LA 70002
Don’t ask; just go. This one is a stone’s throw from New Orleans. The people like it. You will too. And fill up on some gas while you are there.

Chops Specialty Meats Inc
1019 Albertson Pkwy, Broussard, LA 70518
This place comes highly regarded thanks to their perfect mix of liver and rice. Other tasting notes? The meat is chopped, not ground, so it has lots of good texture.

Don’s Specialty Meats
730 I-10 South Frontage Rd, Scott, LA 70583
These folks offer the standard and delicious combination of rice, ground pork and seasonings enshrined in sausage casing. They sell several boudin variants, in addition to standard links.

Jerry Lee’s Cajun Foods
12181 Greenwell Springs Rd, Baton Rouge, LA
Family-run for over 33 years, the Duplantis family offers traditional boudin – sausage casing stuffed with fresh pork, rice, vegetables and Cajun spices.

Johnson’s Boucaniere
1111 St John St, Lafayette, LA 70501
This highly regarded Lafayette restaurant and market is known for producing boudin with a “perfect flavor” thanks to notes of black pepper.

Legnon’s Boucherie
410 Jefferson Terrace Blvd., New Iberia, LA 70560
Finely minced meat draws fans to this meat shop. The recipe? Ted Legnon combines Boston butt, pork trimmings, pork liver and long grain rice (in a 1:1 meat-to-rice ratio) with seasoning and vegetables.

NuNu’s Fresh Markets
509 Lafayette St, Youngsville, LA 70592
This grocery store’s homemade sausages won the 2008, ’09 and ’10 People’s Choice Acadiana’s Best Boudin; Boudin Cookoff. Also for sale? NuNu’s Cajun Seasoning.

What is the best way to eat boudin? Chef Szajewski is a traditionalist through and through. “My favorite way to eat it is steamed out of a crock pot or a rice cooker, still in the casing and pull it out between my teeth with nothing on it,” he says.

His partner, Chef Donald Link, will be preparing boudin the traditional way on Friday. Stryjewski, on the other hand, will be plating “Memphis Sushi,” a piece of cheddar cheese, smoked sausage and a saltine cracker with barbeque spice sprinkled on top.

For Bahr, of, the best boudin is found in those rural Louisiana gas stations that usually also sell diesel and cracklins. “Truck stop boudin with some saltine crackers and yellow mustard is how I like it,” says Bahr.

Image: Emeril Lagasse Foundation, BoudinBourbonandBeer.com

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