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Boudin is as meaningful to South Louisianians as gumbo. Hundreds of places sell it, and many of those who sell it also make it. A butcher-shop specialty that combines ground pork, rice, and spice inside a natural casing, it can be gently spiced or four-alarm hot. It is served on plates in some restaurants, however most locals buy it by the link or pound at the butcher or grocery store, where it comes hot from a steam box, ready to eat: at home, on a picnic table, or off the tailgate of one’s truck. An alternative to the sloppiness of boudin links, most of which demand a fork and/or lots of napkins, is the boudin ball, an egg-sized sphere scooped from the link and deep fried. A good boudin ball will crunch when bitten, the crisp surface cracking apart to offer two or three bites of moist sausage. For a taste of Louisiana’s passion for boudin, visit www.boudinlink.com, a website devoted to rating boudin sausage.