How to Barbecue Boudin Noir

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Traditional forms of sausage are often a testament to the enduring frugality of farm families, determined to waste no part of an animal once it's slaughtered. Blood sausages might be the most extreme example of that ethos, turning the blood of freshly killed hogs -- along with a few other ingredients -- into a tasty if unusual sausage. One of the finest is the French boudin noir, made without the grain-based fillers common in other blood sausages. They're made with just blood, fat and pieces of pork, and are uncommonly tasty when grilled on the barbecue.

Things You'll Need

  • Pan spray or vegetable oil
  • Grill brush
  • Toothpick
  • Mashed potatoes (optional)
  • Caramelized apples or apple compote (optional)
  • Count out as many links of boudin noir as you'll need for your diners. If your local butcher makes it the old-fashioned way, in one continuous coil of sausage, cut 3- to 5-inch lengths for serving.

  • Spray the bars of your grill with pan spray or brush them with oil, to minimize the risk of your sausages sticking. Preheat the grill to a moderate temperature, approximately 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Prick each link or portion of sausage 3 or 4 times with a toothpick, so steam can escape from the sausage without bursting the casing. Arrange the sausages at an angle on your grill, partly to make attractive diagonal grill marks and partly to reduce the risk of them rolling off if your barbecue isn't quite level.

  • Turn the sausages after they've cooked for 4 to 5 minutes, and the casings are well browned. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the second side.

  • Remove the sausages from your grill, and serve them with your choice of side dishes. In France, mashed potatoes and caramelized apples or apple compote are the traditional accompaniments.

Tips & Warnings

  • Boudin noir is always sold precooked, because it's liquid and very fragile when the sausage is first made. The filling is poured in through a funnel, rather than squeezed in through a sausage stuffer; then, the boudin is gently poached until it congeals. It needs only to be warmed through, rather than cooked. If it's heated too aggressively or too long its fat will begin to separate and cook out, leaving the sausage dry and unappetizing.

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