Boudin sausage comes in many varieties. The type you find eaten by the truckload in Louisiana is typically boudin blanc, and differs greatly from boudin noir, mainly because it does not contain any pig’s blood. Boudin noir, on the other hand, is made almost entirely out of the blood of a freshly slaughtered pig. The blood mixture is literally poured into the limp intestinal casing, like a water balloon. Usually it has been pre-mixed with onions, parsley, garlic and some pork meat – in one case, pork throats – to give it flavor. The mix is then carefully balanced so as to be solid enough to eat but liquid enough to pour. After filling the casings, the sausages are boiled.
The French eat almost 15,000 metric tons of this stuff every year. They’ve been doing it for upwards of 2000 years. In the old days, it would take a whole day to drain a large pig, with the children given the task of stirring it so it didn’t coagulate. Now the blood is sucked out and placed into a centrifuge immediately to keep it from clotting.
So what does it taste like? Well, it’s traditionally served on a bed of onions and pork fat, so that’s a good start. Boudin is usually spiced but not spicy, with a big rich meaty flavor and, of course, that sanguine tang. As with all our sausages, there are a large amount of varieties of dark blood sausage; you may find versions using sheep or goat blood, and certainly the French aren’t the only ones making it. For instance, in the French Antilles, they make a variety with rum and different spices called Boudin Antillais (bottom right in the picture). Remember, don’t eat boudin noir if you’re not sure it’s fresh! You’re either going to get sick or eat something decidedly less tasty than you intended. Most reputable sellers will only ship it overnight.