Emeril’s Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer – 2015

(BoudinLink 11.15) This past weekend the Emeril Lagasse Foundation held their annual boudin themed fund raiser (Boudin, Bourbon and Beer) in New Orleans.  Culinary scouts in the Crescent City began taking note of boudin just a few years ago and, like from a link laden rice cooker, the trend has been picking up steam.  Emeril’s ode to Cajun Country’s link is an extravagant (though totally accessible . . . with a ticket) celebration of great food and drink, rocking music, and joie de vive that took place next to the Superdome in Champion’s Square.  It is also worth noting that the event raised $3 MILLION for children’s charities. Wow!

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Champion’s Square – New Orleans – Emeril’s Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer Fundraiser, 2015.

With over 50 top chefs offering sample sized portions of their most creative takes on boudin it is nearly impossible to sample them all.  Nevertheless, we took a shot at it and now offer our own critical insight into the 6 most noteworthy boudin, and not-so-boudiny, offerings at this great event.


BIGGGEST BOUDIN HITS
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Chicago Style Boudin Hot Dog – Holy Moley! Boudin is certainly sausage-like and a hot dog is almost always delicious. Soooooooo, as it turns out, an expertly crafted boudinesque hot dog dressed “Chicago Style” is truly enchanting. These aren’t just little boudin links on a hot dog bun! Nope, they’re a full fledged cross between a hot dog and a link.  Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. tells us that he added Arborio rice to an all pork base, cold smoked’em, and finished them in a Combi oven.  The “basic” bun came in from Windy City as did the quintessentially Chicago sport peppers.   Put these puppies into production at a University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin Cajun baseball game and they’d FLY out the window. Our thanks to Jimmy Bannos Jr. from Chicago’s Purple Pig for this inspired bite. (photo courtesy of the Purple Pig via Instagram)

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Boudin Noodle Soup, “Yakamein Style” – In the boudin making process, pork and spices and onions and celery and green onions and peppers simmer together for hours. Usually the stock goes toward the cooking of the rice. BUT. . . . WAIT. . . . Why not use that stock as the base for Yakamein soup (one of New Orleans’ most legendary street foods)? Yakamein, also known as “Old Sober” is a fabled Big Easy hearty and healing late night elixir. This boudin inspired version was both classic, with a boiled (quail) egg, and unusual. Without a doubt it must stand as one of the most intoxicating (or de-intoxicating) soups known to man. Wonderful and unexpected. Thanks Justin Devillier from La Petite Grocery in New Orleans


BIGGEST NON-BOUDIN HITS
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Dirty Rice on a Pierogi Chip– Creamy and complex . . .  the dirty rice served from Rathbun’s of Atlanta was not like what you’ll find in Cajun Country, but that’s okay because it was so very good. According to Kevin Rathbun, he was initially inspired to do dirty rice stuffed pierogis and this idea eventually lead to a fried piece of pierogi dough holding a Cajun risotto with chicken hearts, roasted beef liver, and chicken thighs enveloped in a velvety Parmesan sauce. We’d eat this all day every day!

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T-Dubb’s Smoked and Mixed Sausage – Bart Bell and Scott “W” Williams’ T-Dubb’s Cajun Country Catering sliced up some spellbindingly good smoked and spicy sausage and then gave you a dollop of truly addictive spicy mustard to go along with what can only be described as sausage perfection. If the sausage they served up on Friday night is any indication (and of course it is) this is one seriously phenomenal catering outfit. Currently you can find them through Facebook or by email (scottwwilliams@gmail.com) or phone: 504-345-1416! Eat This Sausage!


BIGGEST MISSES
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Smoked Pigeon Boudin – There are a fair number of pigeons (squab even) in New Orleans and we’ve always assumed they’d taste great if we captured some and roasted them up. We may still try out some pigeon recipes but this smoked pigeon boudin will not be on our menu. We appreciate the effort, just not the flavor.

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Veggie Boudin Breakfast Sandwich – So, for those vegetarians out there who’ve always pined for a vegetarian boudin . . . . well, here it appeared and in a breakfast bagel sandwich! How could a delicious bagel and egg breakfast sandwich not be great? Add a hefty smear of “vegetarian boudin” that’s how! Please, next time show us a little pork love! (photo courtesy of Emeril’s from Instagram)

Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer is a fantastic event filled with great food, great music, and raising money for a great cause.  This year’s event was a sell-out affair so, we suggest you get your tickets early for #EmerilBBB16!!!

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