Boudin Balls Recipe

The Cajun classic from everyone's favorite, Isaac Toups.
Boudin Balls Recipe
Photo by Ted and Chelsea

Makes 5 dozen
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 5 hours


1 (3 ½ pounds|1 ½ kilogram) bone-in pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 ½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups|300 grams (about 90 cloves) garlic (yes, it's ridiculous)
2 large ribs celery, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cups|900 ml amber beer
1 cup|200 grams Louisiana rice
1 pound|450 grams chicken livers
2 bunches green onions, tops only, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (Penzey's, specifically; they have the best smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't be a weenie)
2 cups|270 grams plain breadcrumbs
canola oil, for frying
½ cup|100 grams mayonnaise
¼ cup|60 grams Creole mustard


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. 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 kosher salt and 2 tablespoons of black pepper. Be sure to really aggressively rub it in the crevices.
  3. Place the pork butt in a roasting pan that is deeper than the pork butt and will allow you to cover. Place it in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F.
  4. Add the garlic, celery, bell peppers, and onion straight into the pan with the roasted pork butt. It should go right into the juices sitting in the bottom of the pan. Don't skim that fat off. It's counterintuitive to French cooking, but Cajuns leave all that good shit in there. Add the beer and 4 cups|946 ml of water. Cover the roasting pan with a lid or tightly wrap the top with aluminum foil.
  5. Place the pork in the oven. Now we're braising the meat with the vegetables. Back home people would straight-up 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.
  6. Remove the pork from the oven. Remove meat from the braising liquid. Strain the braising liquid through a metal colander into a saucepan to remove solids. Reserve liquid and vegetables/aromatics.
  7. Put the vegetables and aromatics back in the original roasting pan. Add the chicken livers to the roasting pan and put it back in the 325°F oven. Cook until livers have an internal temperature of 150°F, about 10 minutes. Add pork back to the veggies and the livers.
  8. Place 1 cup of rice in the braising liquid. I know this is too much just for the rice, but it's okay 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 a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, break up the pork 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.)
  10. Add the rice, ¾ cup|177 ml cooking liquid, and the green onion to ground pork and veggie mixture. Stir in the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon kosher salt ,and ½ tablespoon black pepper. Mix it 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.
  11. Refrigerate the mixture until completely chilled, preferably overnight. The next day, roll the mixture into 2 tablespoon balls. Roll and completely coat in the breadcrumbs, then place on a sheet tray and refrigerate for an additional 2 hours.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and mustard. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  13. Meanwhile, heat 2-inches oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Working in batches, fry the balls until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet tray and season with salt. Serve with the mustard mayonnaise.

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