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GoNOLA Recipes At Home: Donald Link’s Boudin Balls

Try out some Cajun cooking in your own kitchen with this recipe for Boudin Balls from New Orleans chef Donald Link to celebrate Boudin, Bourbon and Beer.

With Emeril Lagasse’s Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer coming up, it’s safe to say we’ve got boudin on the brain. This pork and rice Cajun sausage extraordinaire can be incorporated into just about any meal of the day and no two boudins are the same. New Orleans chef and restaurateur (Cochon, Butcher, Herbsaint, and more), Donald Link, created this recipe for these tasty little Boudin Balls that are a fun twist on this classic ingredient that is an integral part of Cajun cuisine. Try your hand at some New Orleans cooking with these bite-sized morsels of flavor, perfect for party snacks or football game fuel for the fall.


new orleans food, new orleans recipe, new orleans cooking
Boudin Balls by Chef Donald Link: tasty morsels of Cajun flavor (photo via
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound pork liver, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curing salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 7 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped scallions (green and white parts)
  • 3 cups panko
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Special equipment: You will need a deep-frying/candy thermometer for this recipe.

What to buy: Panko is coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs, available in many grocery stores.

Curing salt, also known as pink salt or saltpeter, contains 6.25 percent sodium nitrite. It is colored pink so as not to be confused with regular salt.


  1. Combine the pork, liver, vegetables, and seasonings in a bowl and marinate for 1 hour or overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. Place the marinated mixture in a large pot and cover the meat with water by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then put the solids through a meat grinder set on coarse grind. (You can also chop with a knife if you don’t have a meat grinder, which is what I usually do anyway.)
  3. Place the ground meat in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the cooked rice, parsley, scallions, and 3 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir vigorously for 5 minutes until the mixture sticks together when pressed with the back of a spoon, adding more cooking liquid as necessary. (Feel free to use a mixer if you have one. I have one yet I still mix it by hand for some reason I can’t explain.)
  4. Place the panko in a wide, shallow dish. Form the boudin mixture into golf-ball-sized rounds, roll in the panko, place on a baking sheet, and set aside.
  5. Heat the oven to 200°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels.
  6. Pour 2 inches of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 375°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer. Add boudin balls in a single layer (you’ll need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pot). Fry until golden brown in color and heated all the way through, about 1 minute. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon. Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the boudin balls warm.
  7. Return the oil to 375°F and repeat the process with the remaining boudin balls.

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