Boudin Balls are crunchy sausage filled fritters, served with creole aioli and pickles.
1 Bone-in pork shoulder – 3.5 lbs. (aka Boston butt)
3 T Salt – divided
2 1/2 T Black pepper – divided
1 Onion – large, roughly chopped
2 Bell pepper – roughly chopped (into large chunks, about 1 1/2″)
2 Celery rib – large, roughly chopped
2 C Garlic – (about 90 cloves)
1 qt Amber beer
1 qt Water
1 C Louisiana jasmine rice
1 lb Chicken liver
2 Green onion bunch – tops only, chopped
1 T Smoked paprika
1 t Cayenne pepper
Creole Aioli – (see below)
1 Egg yolk
1/2 t Salt
2 T Creole mustard
1 T Apple cider vinegar
- Creole Aioli Method:
- Combine all. Slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of canola oil with whisk till emulsified. Makes close to two cups.
- Boudin Balls Method:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Score the pork shoulder; make cuts 1 inch deep and 2 inches wide on both sides, creating a diamond pattern across the entire hunk of meat. Season the pork shoulder with 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of black pepper (1 Tbsp of each spread evenly on each side of the pork). Be sure to really aggressively rub it in the crevices.
- Place pork butt in a roasting pan that is deeper than the pork butt and will allow you to cover. Place it in a 400-degree oven. Roast for 40 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Remove from oven and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic straight to the pan with the roasted pork butt. It should go straight into the juices sitting in the bottom of the pan. Don’t skim that fat off. It’s counterintuitive to classic French cooking, but Cajuns leave all that good stuff in there. Add beer and water. Cover the roasting pan with a lid or by tightly wrapping the top with aluminum foil.
- Put it in the 325-degree oven. Now we’re braising the meat with the vegetables. Back home people would boil it, but I like to put a sear on mine so I roast and then braise to give it a richer flavor.
- Braise for 2 ½ hours—the meat should literally fall off the bone like pulled pork—and remove from oven. Remove the meat from the braising liquid. Strain braising liquid into a sauce pan through a metal colander to remove solids; reserve liquid and vegetables/aromatics separately.
- Put the vegetables and aromatics back in original roasting pan. Add livers to roasting pan and put it back in a 325-degree oven. Cook until livers have internal temp of 150 degrees, about 10 minutes. Add pork back to the veggies and livers.
- Place 1 cup of rice in the reserved braising liquid. I’m not worried about getting exact measurements on rice and liquid ratios because any leftover liquid is going in the boudin anyway. I know this is too much jus for the rice, but it’s ok because I know I need excess liquid for my boudin. Over high heat, bring rice and braising liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes.
- Break up pork butt into workable pieces. You don’t need to make it perfect because we’re going to put it in the meat grinder. Grind pork butt with veggies, cooked chicken livers, and any juice left in pan in a meat grinder. (If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can do a Morimoto-style chop with two knives and give it a small, coarse chop. You can put the veggies and livers in a food processor, but you’ll want to separately fold in the hand-chopped meat. Don’t put the meat in a food processor or you’ll emulsify it.)
- Add rice, any leftover braising liquid, and green onion to ground pork and veggie mixture. Add smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp salt and ½ Tbsp black pepper. Mix all together and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Cayenne is not optional. Want it hotter? Add some more. But cayenne is not freaking optional. You’ve gotta have it. At this point you can make boudin balls or pipe the boudin into more traditional casings.
- Additional Tips by Chef Isaac Toups:
- Boudin is not technically hard. It’s time-intensive. But if you can put a pork butt in the oven, you can make it. Everyone can get a pork butt and some vegetables and some chicken livers. No matter where in the country you are, you can make boudin. Since we have fresh sausage on the Meatery Board at Toups’ Meatery every day, I make fried boudin balls instead of stuffing the boudin into casings. But if you don’t want to make balls or stuff in casings, you can throw some of the loose mixture in with scrambled eggs, pack it in a burrito, or get a little pistolette (little individual French bread), poke a finger in it, stuff it with boudin, and deep fry the whole thing.
- To get the strongest meat flavor, I roast my shoulders (aka Boston butts) to let the meat caramelize instead of boiling. I also put in lots of smoked paprika to really bring up the smokiness.
- A meat grinder is not necessary for boudin. You can shred it up with forks or by hand—that’s more than good enough for home eating. I always fry my boudin balls with peanut oil because it has a high smoke point, is very sturdy, and really keeps the flavor of food. I don’t like deep frying stuff in lard because it’s got a low smoke point.