Uli’s Famous Sausage in Seattle’s Pike Place Market (Boudin Review)
Location: Seattle, WA . . . Pike Place Market
Ambiance: Inside a bustling, huge, active, and fun market filled with vendors selling everything from fresh fish and vegetables to hand painted ceramics. A must stop in Seattle. Uli’s is a small spot inside the market with an attached sausage production facility. The service is odd and a bit cold, but the selection of sausage is only matched by the price: Over 3 dozen varieties. They’ll grill up any of your selections and you can eat them there, or have them wrapped up to take home.
Cost: $6.99 per pound. Yes, that is SIX DOLLARS and NINETY-NINE CENTS per pound!!!!
Presentation: Snatched from the display window and wrapped in butcher paper . . . . . or thrown on the grill in back. It is a raw product, so it MUST be cooked before consumption.
Casing: After grilling it is as brittle as can be.
Texture: This product is made with ground pork that is not cooked before being put into the casing. The rice is, apparently, run through some type of grinder that creates little bits of rice (mini, tiny, grains). Since you cook the link after buying it, it has the texture one would expect of fresh sausage (bratwurst for example) that is put on the grill, but it does not have a texture similar to any “Cajun” boudin.
Rice/Meat Ratio: Significantly more meat than rice. In fact, the rice plays an almost insignificant role in this link.
Spice: Mild to bland when it comes to heat.
Overall Taste: Considering this link as it relates to “Cajun” boudin, it does not have any of the traditional or expected flavors. It is likely that there is no cayenne or paprika at all. Instead the meaty link of sausage has a flavor that comes from what might be more middle-eastern spices (cinnamon? cumin? cardamom? coriander?) It is tasty and pleasant to eat. Your guest will like it. But!!!! (Everyone has a “big but”) It does not taste, or cook, or look, or smell like “Cajun” boudin. Is it boudin at all? Well, they call it boudin and it has pork and rice . . . . . .
Comments: This is a quality product. However, it will not provide a “Cajun” boudin experience as one will get from a South Louisiana product. One might argue that Uli’s is intended to be a traditional French/European recipe, but two things detract from this notion: First, they sell several other “Louisiana” labeled products (Andouille and hot links); Second, the inclusion of rice points toward the South Louisiana version of boudin. Final word: Good sausage and who really expects a guy in Washington to make good boudin? Let the Washingtonians stick to salmon, aplets & cotlets, coffee, and software.