What’s Boudin & Why Louisiana Is The Best Place To Find It

Boudin Louisiana

Like many of you, I didn’t know what boudin was before first arriving into Southwest Louisiana. I like to consider myself somewhat worldly and at least aware of many foods, but somehow boudin had escaped my culinary lexicon for 40 years. But if you are from Louisiana, and particularly the areas around Lake Charles, then boudin isn’t just familiar to you, it’s a big part of everyday life. As I discovered though, it’s a lot more than just a snack, it’s an important part of Louisiana’s culinary traditions.

What Is Boudin?

To say that boudin is a type of sausage is wrong, although when you first see it that’s exactly what it looks like. To really understand boudin, we have to go back to those Acadians who originally settled in Southwestern Louisiana. Who we now call Cajuns, these French-speaking settlers were forced out of Canada, but took with them their proud French culture and traditions, including boudin. Boudin in Louisiana is different though from versions you’ll find in other parts of the world. At its simplest, boudin is a combination of cooked rice, pork, onions, green peppers and seasonings. The mixture is pulverized in a meat grinder before being stuffed into sausage casings. It is then steamed for on-the-spot eating. But those are just the basics, boudin changes in taste and flavor from cook to cook, no two are exactly the same and are based on recipes that have been handed down through the generations. That’s why it’s so much fun to drive around Southwest Louisiana sampling different versions, to experience new tastes and flavors in what is this area’s go-to food.

When And How Do You Eat It?

Asking around, I soon discovered that there is no perfect time to enjoy boudin. It’s very common for people to buy some in the morning to take to work for the office to enjoy, and no proper road trip in Southwest Louisiana would be complete without some boudin links to snack on. Pronounced “Boodan” (never say “Boodin”), this is as simple a snack as you can get, and slowly eating the link whole is very normal. But there are many variations, including the most common, fried boudin. Cut into smaller pieces, breaded and then fried, you’ll find fried boudin balls in everything from breakfast sandwiches to serving as an entire meal in their own right. While you can certainly buy them in grocery stores in the area, homemade is best and there are any number of small meat shops and independent butchers and grocers in and around Lake Charles that specialize in their own versions of boudin. To best enjoy this regional delicacy, a culinary route was established to help locals and visitors alike discover different variations of boudin on what is now called the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail.

Map courtesy of Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail

The sign read, “Napa Valley has wine. New York has pizza. Wisconsin has cheese. Southwest Louisiana has boudin.” To say that boudin is an important part of foodie life in Lake Charles would be a massive understatement. That’s where I started my culinary adventures in Louisiana and in addition to offering a lot to see and do for visitors, locals consider themselves to also be the home of boudin. It’s also from Lake Charles where you should start your trek along the Boudin Trail – just make sure you skipped breakfast.

Truly the best way to understand and certainly enjoy the importance of boudin is to actually taste it. In Southwest Louisiana that means traveling the Boudin Trail along US Interstate 10 and stopping off at the many independent businesses all verified to be serving up some of the best versions of boudin in the area. For my own boudin experience, I was invited into the kitchens of a local favorite – B&O Kitchen & Grocery.

Jeff Benoit is a third generation Benoit to own the B&O Kitchen and Grocery, which specializes in of course boudin, but also cracklins and other tasty meats. Walking into his kitchens, Jeff first took me back to the fryers where new batches of cracklins were being prepared. The aromas were heavy in what can only be called porky goodness. Pork fat with skin that’s fried to within an inch of its life and then salted, these treats are delicious and as I discovered, somewhat addictive. I was there though for my first lesson in boudin, which Jeff’s daughter had prepared for me.

True to form, Jeff wouldn’t tell me exactly what seasonings he uses, but just smiled and promised that they were delicious. I picked up the small sausage link, taking a peek at the rice and meat before enjoying that oh-so-important first bite. A gentle but not intense heat from the spices was the first thing I noticed, but then the combination of well seasoned meats and rice came into play, creating an overall bite that can only be called perfectly constructed. I then took my second, third and fourth bites, quickly understanding why boudin is so popular. Simple, easy to eat and not expensive, they really are the perfect go-to food for almost anything. Next to the “normal” boudin links, Jeff had also prepared some fried boudin balls and since nothing fried can be bad, I knew right away that I’d love this version even more.

Jeff and the B&O is just one of more than 25 small, independent businesses along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, each offering their own unique takes on this Southwest Louisiana staple. It’s not just about the food though; it’s also about the culture. Many of us who don’t live in Lake Charles or surrounding towns don’t really know a lot about Cajun culture. But it’s more than what we see on TV, it has a long and proud history and it’s still very much alive. Food teaches us about new cultures when we travel; it emphasizes what is and is not important. In Lake Charles and other neighboring communities, that first step in better understanding what makes this part of the world tick starts first and foremost in the kitchens of the local boudin experts lining US 10.

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tags:

Subscribe and get my free ebook!

Subscribe to the LandLopers newsletter and get a free copy of my new book, "My Favorite 50 Travel Photos."

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

59 Responses

  1. dale r

    would love to get my hands on a good recipe, to make at home

    Reply
  2. B Archer

    Kind of offended that the “boudin trail” runs only through Lake Charles and surrounding areas. St. Landry, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Rapides, Vermillion, and Lafayette parishes also have some amazing boudin. Someone needs to revise this, STAT! 🙂

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      I somehow knew this was coming 🙂

      Reply
      • Chris Vincent

        It’s okay Matt.. if you only have a limited amount of time, you go with what you know. 🙂

      • Kimberly

        Yes Boudin is definitely a Cajun delicacy which brings me to the question…..Lake Charles?!!!
        Throughout the area defined as Acadiana or Cajun Country, of which Lafayette is the hub, boudin is ubiquitous: Signs and banners signal passersby to stop and grab a link of HOT BOUDIN where it will be pulled from a steamer or slow cooker, weighed, wrapped in butcher paper, and usually handed over along with some napkins or paper towels so it can be eaten right on the spot.

    • Nathan E. Boyd

      They also left out the Texas capitol of Louisiana, Port Arthur.

      Reply
    • Steven

      Agreed! It definitely should start in Port Arthur and run through at least Lafayette. Regardless, it’s great to see that part of the world getting some well deserved coverage in the travel blogosphere.

      Reply
    • Kristen Anderson

      I was going to say the same thing! This article completely neglect the heart of Cajun Country, even through St. Charles Parish.

      Reply
      • Kristen Anderson

        *neglected*

    • Kevin

      I was thinking the same thing… nothing wrong with the “boudin trail” you have shed light on… it’s just a lot longer than SW La. One thing for certain Matt, I hope you get a chance to visit and taste all the other trails in the Parishes of Louisiana. My particular fave for boudin…. smoked in/on the pit with a nice chunk of pecan wood, taken out and dipped in a homemade bbq sauce w/tabasco and allowed to caramelize back on the smoker for another 15-20 mins or until the links burst open. Pure heaven my friend.

      Reply
    • Bradly Mercer

      This is referencing the Southwest Boudin Trail for the Lake Charles area. However, there are multiple Boudin Trails depending on the area you visit, like the Cajun Boudin trail for the Lafayette area.

      Reply
  3. Jesse

    What about Scott,LA?? Boudin capital of the world! Don’s in Scott is hard to beat!!

    Reply
    • Kimberly

      Yes Boudin is definitely a Cajun delicacy which brings me to the question…..Lake Charles?!!!
      Throughout the area defined as Acadiana or Cajun Country, of which Lafayette is the hub, boudin is ubiquitous: Signs and banners signal passersby to stop and grab a link of HOT BOUDIN where it will be pulled from a steamer or slow cooker, weighed, wrapped in butcher paper, and usually handed over along with some napkins or paper towels so it can be eaten right on the spot.

      Reply
    • Wag

      Jennings- Boudin Capital of the Universe…Also Lafayette Boudin is mediocre. Lake Charles, Market Basket on Nelson…that boudin will change your life…especially the smoked

      Reply
  4. Danny

    Billy’s boudin in Scott la the best I’ve eaten

    Reply
    • Andre LeBlanc

      Best stop north of the interstate in Scott has great links. Billy’s (south of the interstate in Scott ) boudin balls are awesome. Trust me, I live work and travel all over Louisiana. Louisiana born and raised coonass.

      Reply
      • Kristi Marchand

        Best Stop is, well, the BEST! Smoked boudin is to die for. I live in Houston now, but still go home frequently and pick up Best Stop every trip back to Texas.

    • Yolanda

      OMG, yes and Billy’s too!!!

      Reply
  5. John

    Get off of I10 and get on Old Hwy 90…In Jennings La….Dallas Cormier put Boudin on the map years ago when he opened Boudin King…It’s still there and it’s still the best!!! And voted #1 in the state many times over!!!

    Reply
    • J. Gary

      Boudin King used to be very good. However since Mr. & Mrs. Cormier died that place went down hill fast.

      Reply
      • Richard Esthay

        I have to agree with you. It’s not what it once was. Which is a shame because at one time the food was really great. I always thought that Mr. Ellis could have franchised his brand of boudin and fried chicken……………..

    • Jeanette

      Dallas did not open Boudin King.

      Reply
    • Richard Esthay

      Ellis Cormier was the Boudin King and the owner, operator, and creator of Boudin King. Not Dallas Comier. Dallas was sheriff for many years.

      Reply
  6. Joe C

    I have eaten boudin my entire life and have had it from the Texas border to New Orleans in all of the southern areas. BY FAR the best boudin that I have had is from Scott, Lafayette & Broussard. We have a good place in Thibodaux but the Lafayette area has the best………..

    Reply
  7. Katie

    BILLY’S @. Scott. “FRIED BOUDIN EGG-ROLLS”. Need I say more.

    Reply
    • Kimberly

      Yes Billy’s boudin balls!!!!!

      Reply
    • Yolanda

      OMG, I’m drooling thinking about Billy’s!

      Reply
    • Wanda

      Juneau ‘ Cajun Meats in Marksville has the best….

      Reply
  8. Matt c.

    B&O grocery has THE BEST BOUDIN! None better!

    Reply
  9. Tula

    Marksville , Krotz Springs, I could go on but why? We all know boudin is everywhere we love it. I love some crackling too. Crawfish boudin is fantastic.

    Reply
  10. Stan Sword

    Left LC in 2011. Besides good friends, I miss B&O cracklins and Abes Boudin the most. Got to Mississippi 2 years ago and some people think Boudin is blood sausage. If they only knew. Basically rice dressing in sausage form. Would kill for crawfish. Thanks for making me hungry……

    Reply
  11. Lin

    Richard’s in Sulphur.
    And it’s pronounced Ree-Shards.

    Reply
  12. Chad

    Yall all lost. Teet’s in Ville Platte is where you should pass to get your links.

    Reply
  13. Mike

    Lake Charles is fair, I guess. You really need to be around Lafayette – Scott, Maurice, Youngsville, etc. (as others have mentioned or will mention). It’s like you went to Indy for Chicago-style pizza.

    Reply
  14. roy dugas

    Best stop in Scott is the best

    Reply
  15. John Stoker

    The Cajun Truffle. There are so many homegrown Boudin markets and alk serve delicious and authentic Cajun staples. Market Basket in Lake Charles has the best steamed and smoked ib my opinion ad well ad their sausages. If you make the trip you have to try them out.

    Reply
  16. Art Thibodeaux

    I have had the privilege of living all over the United States. Unfortunately, good Boudin is only found in Louisiana. I have had it shipped to me as far as Hawaii and cannot live without this unique delicacy. I have been buying Boudin from Best Stop since my dad took me there as a teenager. Now I swap out between Dons and Best Stop depending on whose cracklins are hotter.

    Reply
  17. Lori Thompson

    Don’s is top on my list. But Nunu’s in Youngsville does a good job too!!

    Reply
  18. Bradford Jackson

    Ray’s Original Boudin on Hwy 182 south of Opelousas. 50 plus years of boudin excellence. the first time i tried boudin, i thought was the same as Scottish haggis.

    Reply
  19. Sarge

    The fact that Lafayette is NO WHERE on your list discredits this whole article. When you leave out the Capital of all Cajun parishes where the food is clearly the best it is an insult.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Devoting an entire post to Lafayette next week, already written 🙂

      Reply
  20. Mary C

    I retired from Louisiana to Georgia. Everytime I go back to visit in Lake Charles/Sulphur area I load up on Boudin. I always have some in my freezer. Mine comes from Hollier’s in Sulphur. Simply the best.

    Reply
  21. Mark S.

    Everybody in the Baton Rouge area knows that Jerry Lee’s on Greenwell Springs Road is “the” place to get the best boudin ever! Google him!

    Reply
  22. Tom Breaux

    The original boudin was known as blood sausage. It was red and made with the blood of the pig. The boudin you get today does not hold a light to the red boudin.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Well over time it’s evolved into a distinct dish no?

      Reply
  23. Lisa Dunlap

    I am from the Mid Atlantic and my wonderful friend sends me Boudin from Vinton. I am an absolute Boudin Junkie! I have never started a bucket list but after seeing the trail I now have something on my list.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Vinton Virginia or Louisiana? It’s amazing stuff no doubt

      Reply
  24. Scot

    It’s OK Jeff . Not everyone can be from Lake Charles. There will be some jealousy! Just kidding. I’ve traveled all over South Louisiana example Boudin from everywhere, as well as cracklings. Everyone has their own taste and their own signature flavor. All are good and some are great. Thanks for the nice article about our area.

    Reply
  25. Marie Boler

    I wasborn in Louisiana I missed the peoples,families and friends!!! Do your take orders online and shipped anywhere? I missed everything about Louisiana!!!!

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Um, I’m a travel writer not a restaurant

      Reply
  26. Martin

    Great article…I agree boudin is like gumbo…a 100 chefs will all put their culinary taste and the outcome is usually good. Although, some much better than others…..I moved to Florida from Louisiana, after a brief 10 year stop in Colorado…I miss the delicious boudin from Louisiana..I always favored Poches boudin because I normally smoke it slightly. The moisture in their boudin together with a slight smoke flavor gives your taste buds a delightful treat of boudin ecstacy …Enjoyed the read

    Reply
  27. Jordan Delcambre

    I moved to Tennessee from Delcambre, La. When I go home for a visit, I fill my icechest with boudin from Shawn’s Specialty Meats on Hwy. 14 in Delcambre. Shawn also has a GREAT ASSORTMENT of prepared meats. His signature Syrup Sausage, OH SO GOOD…..

    Reply
  28. Thomas

    Everyone’s tastes are as different as they are. I am originally from Alabama but grew up in Louisiana. The best Boudin I’ve ever had was homemade Blood Boudin from a neighbor when I lived in the little town of Basile, LA. I’ve eaten boudin from Don’s, Lafayette and Port Arthur. Jennings Boudin Hut used to be my place of choice, but for the past few years Leonard’s on 14 in Lake Charles has my vote for steamed boudin…Shop A Lot Deli on 18th Street in Lake Charles for Chicken Fried Boudin Links and Famous Foods on 14 in Lake Charles for Smoked Boudin.
    One thing I’ve learned through the years…where ever you call home, that is where you find the best. For me…it’s all good baby.

    Reply
    • Dawna

      Is that you, Thomas Big Hat? 😋

      Reply
  29. Michele

    Yes the whole State of Louisiana does have excellent choices of Boudin stops, but the article was focusing on the SW. region of the State. No need to get upset over anything.

    Reply
  30. Chem

    Billy’s Boudin in Scott Louisiana!!!!!!

    Reply
  31. Mesha

    Did you try Peggy’s boudin on Moeling st in Lake Charles ???

    Reply
  32. Dawna

    Like Don’s, like Billy’s, like several others … love NuNu’s in Youngsville! 😄 Aaiieee!

    Reply

Leave a Comment