The Boudin Egg Roll – Boudin’s Next Big Thing!
Boudin Egg Rolls/Wraps: A Brief History of the Next Big Thing.
(Acadiana via BL) — Does a cylinder of boudin enclosed in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried to golden deliciousness count as Boudin Fusion? If you include a hearty chunk of pepper jack cheese in it have we entered Wisconsin Fusion territory? Or, better yet . . . . Oh, who the heck cares? Boudin’s next great iteration is already upon us and it is the Boudin Egg Roll (or simply the Boudin Wrap or Roll Up). If you’ve been to Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin (Scott, Opelousas, and Krotz Spring) or T-Boys in Mamou, or Menard’s Cajun Grocery in Duson, you know the brilliance of this inspired boudin creation. But who invented it and first and put it on the market might surprise you.
Many folks identify Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin as the home of the boudin wrap, but that may only be because they’re the most prolific vendor. Seemingly hundreds a day are sold at the Scott location of Billy’s alone. However, Charles James of Charlie T’s in Breaux Bridge relays a convincing account of his store as the birthplace of this innovative delicacy. As Charles recalls, back around 2008, he was working with his son-in-law, Timmy, on a few new boudin concepts and, try as they might, they just couldn’t get the boudin-wrapped-in-a-tortilla to come out “just right.” Then, one night while eating Chinese food, Charles’ wife, Janet, held and egg roll up and proclaimed “Here’s the ticket! Wrap that boudin like an egg roll!” GENIUS!! Over the next few years Timmy took jobs in a number of Acadiana’s most noteworthy boudin establishments, including Billy’s in Scott, and it may be that he brought the idea (if not the formal recipe) for the boudin egg roll to the attention of Patsy Frey, the director of operations, at Billy’s.
At Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin they’re so busy making boudin egg rolls (and boudin balls, and boudin sandwiches, and boudin pistolettes, and smoked boudin, and regular boudin) that they can barely process the question of where the concept for this boudin twist emanated. Who can blame them? Their fryers seem to be cranking these babies out round the clock! But, are they your favorite? Taste around to test the other options.
Over at Menard’s Cajun Grocery in Duson, Don Menard, recall’s working with Timmy at Don’s Country Mart in Carencro, but doesn’t recollect any discussions about boudin egg rolls or even boudin balls for that matter. Nevertheless, he’s happy to be partaking in the egg roll love at his new corner store where, after being open for only a few short months, they’re already going gang-busters with what might be the best boudin & pepper-jack cheese stuffed egg roll in Louisiana: 600-700 of these golden beauties are flying out the door every week!
And in Eunice at T-Boy’s Boudin and Cracklin their memory of when they started to sell the egg rolls (though they call them rolls) puts them in contention to be the first innovator! T-Boy Berzas’ brother-in-law was in from Arkansas (Yes, ARKANSAS!) and in a brainstorming session he came up with the idea. Everyone immediately”fell in love with them” and they started selling them in their Eunice store about 8 years ago. They’re selling about a hundred a week and T-Boy has experimented with finding the right wrappers and found that making them and selling them the same day yields a better product with less moisture and more crispness.
A Little History on the Egg Roll
Curiously the egg roll itself hasn’t been around as long as one might think. We only have to look back to 1930s New York, and not China’s Ming Dynasty, to find that the Chinese egg roll is an American invention. Author and culinary historian, Andrew Coe, found that the first printed reference to an egg roll appears in a cookbook by Henry Low in 1938! While we doubt that Low envisaged his creation going “Cajun,” Louisiana is not the first region to put their own unique twist on the egg roll. Southwest style egg rolls (with black beans, corn, and chicken) started appearing in the 1990s and other restatements exist in the Pacific Northwest and New England alike —- salmon or fried lobster egg rolls anyone?
One thing is for sure; as more and more people taste the wisdom (even if it isn’t ancient wisdom) of the boudin egg roll it is finding a welcome home beyond your favorite meat shops & boudin stops. Full fledged restaurants are getting in on this un-linked game too. As Broussard, LA’s Hook and Boil Restaurant developed their menu, they sought a vehicle for their house-made boudin that would hit on the sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy, and cheesy flavor profiles people love and the egg roll won the day. They fry them to blistering perfection, plate them with a cabbage slaw and finish it off with a sweet pepper jelly/cane syrup glaze They egg rolls quickly took center stage as one of the restaurant’s most popular menu items and, according to chef Colt Patin, they even roll out a crawfish version during Lent that is a real winner. Wherever egg rolls, wraps, or roll-ups might appear, in the coming months and years we expect to see more and more variations on the theme and our bellies are truly happy.
In some respects the emergence of the boudin egg roll is just a natural progression from the boudin ball and next week we’ll take you on a journey of epic proportions to uncover the secret history of that amazing orb of fried boudin goodness! Stay tuned.
Do you know of a place that makes a boudin egg roll we should know about? Drop us a line and we’ll check them out.