This Louisiana-style sausage will make you want to book another trip to wild hog country and collect more feral pork.
2 wild hog legs (mine were from an 80-lb. pig) or around 2 lbs. of meat
1.5 lbs. cubed pork belly, wild or free-range is best
1 lb. liver (pheasant, wild hog or chicken in a pinch)
Hog casings for 5 lbs. sausage (prep extra in case of blowouts)
1/8 cup salt
3 cups cooked basmati or other long-grain rice
1 cup fresh ground morita peppers
1 head garlic, unpeeled
Large bunch fresh oregano, off the stem
1 red onion
1/2 red cabbage
1 cup vinegar (1/2 white, 1/2 apple cider)
1 tbsp. Slap Ya Momma Cajun seasoning
1 loaf crusty bread for grilling
1/4 cup oil for grilling
1/4 cup mustard
All of the prepared ingredients can be done the night before for this dish. Just make sure to separate your meat and the broth for a less-messy grinding experience.
Start by prepping your hog casings if they’re in salt. I like to soak in warm water for an hour and then thoroughly rinse them to make sure they’re as clean as possible. You’ll notice that some casings are thicker than others, so keep that in mind if you want to have them all uniform. The thicker casings will have a different feel and will look more white. Once rinsed, put a 3 percent saltwater solution in a container that can be refrigerated so any extras will be fine to use in future sausage making (you’ll want to do this one more than once!).
Debone your meat but save the bones. Put seasoned cubed meat bones and pork belly into a roasting dish and cover with water. Wrap a whole garlic (with the top cut off) in foil with a drizzle of oil or wild game lard. Put both in the oven at 350. Remove the garlic after an hour, and while the oven is open, stir your meat and add more water to continue to cover the meat. The water reducing down will intensify the flavor and allow some of the meat to brown. Your meat will need to cook at least an hour per pound of meat, letting the connective tissue liquify. Once the meat is falling apart it’s done. At this point, taste the meat and make sure the salt levels are to your liking and add more as needed. Let the mixture cool, separate any meat still connected to bones, and put the liquid off to the side.
While the meat is cooking in the oven you’ll want to start your rice so it’s properly cooled. Long-grain rice is the typical Lousiana variety, even better if you can find an heirloom American variety for authenticity. I always salt my water when making rice, as it’ll absorb the flavor best at that point and the water also gets up to a boil faster. For this recipe, use the method where you measure exactly 2:1 water to rice. Measure the rice first and add to the pan, then add the water and a couple teaspoons of salt. Boil the rice, reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes after stirring, and then cover the pan with a lid and leave the heat off. Don’t touch it for at least 10 minutes, as the residual steam will cook the rice and you’ll have all the starches intact that will help bind your sausage. If you boil the rice until it’s finished in lots of water and strain it, you lose the starch and your boudin will be more crumbly.
Grind your chilled pork and livers. Mix with the rice, fresh oregano and add in the braising liquid you saved, little by little until the whole mix looks nice and tacky. The liquids in the mix will help everything bind to the rice once the sausage cooks.
Once you’ve mixed your ingredients, stuff into your casings and make sure to properly prick the final sausages to avoid exploding sausages on the grill. It’s best to let the sausage rest in the fridge overnight, but not necessary.
Slice your onion and cabbage, add in vinegar plus seasoning, and mix. You can make this an hour before serving, and the quick pickle will be ready for eating. If you don’t have time, sub in some kosher dills.
If using a gas grill, put the sausages on the top grate over low heat so the sausages slowly come up to temperature. You can also simmer the sausages in a pot of water before grilling, but either way you’re looking to slowly get them warmed before hitting the flames to keep them from bursting, and making sure the center is the same temperature as the outside. Once they’ve reached 130 degrees, drop them onto the flames to get some grill marks and browning. Don’t have the grill too hot or you’ll get bursting sausages … but even if you do, boudin is delicious either way!
Let the sausage rest and grill your bread after brushing with oil. Get nice dark grill marks, but don’t burn the bread. A little char is tasty, a lot is just burnt, but you can always scrape a little off as needed. Cut your bread into triangles with a sharp knife, slice your sausage and assemble the bites. I like having a perfect bite of bread, sausage, slaw and a dollop of mustard, but do whatever pleases you. Boudin is just as good eaten on white bread.