Findlay Market is iconic to Cincinnatians, especially during Opening Day, but it’s especially important to Ryan Lillis, the co-owner and butcher at LK Findlay Market. “Growing up, my family owned a butcher shop,” says Lillis. “I came in on the weekends and learned the tricks of the trade.” After graduating from college, he started out in a corporate career, but in 2020 he decided to go back to his roots. He opened his own spin on a butcher shop, specializing in more than 50 varieties of sausages: pork, chicken, and lamb sausages, along with pork chops, bacon, and smoked meats.
One request he gets often? Boudin—traditionally a Cajun, Louisiana staple made with meat, liver, rice, and Cajun seasoning. It can be complex to make the mixture into traditional sausage, so he decided to whip up his own version made into balls using a star ingredient—TRUFF Hot Sauce. Lillis says the earthy punch of TRUFF hot sauces elevates any recipe, especially his take on boudin sausage. TRUFF isn’t just for Cajun-style appetizers. Grab a bottle of TRUFF Hot Sauce at your local Kroger and toss wings in it, swirl on your mac and cheese, or dab it on your burger for an extra bite. But next time you host a night in with friends, you have to give this appetizer a try.
In lieu of the complex process, using sausage casing, Lillis’s version is freeform and rolled into individual balls to serve as an appetizer. “TRUFF Hot Sauce was the perfect ingredient to transform boudin into something really special,” says Lillis. “It not only elevates the dish but also makes the perfect sauce in which to serve and dip the boudin balls.”
The boudin balls can be made beforehand and refrigerated until you’re ready to cook them, and you can customize your level of heat. “At first glance, this recipe might seem a little bit lengthy from a time perspective,” adds Lillis. “[But] it’s simple. Before you go to bed, put the pork in a slow cooker overnight. In the morning, it’s done. Mix it with rice and juices. Bread them. [Cook] them—you’re done.” If you like extra spicy food, Lillis recommends adding a little extra after they’re cooked. Best of all? You can choose your cooking method. Air fryer fans, we have good news—you can cook them in an air fryer, traditional pan fry, deep fry, or stick them in the oven. After they’re cooked, serve them with a toothpick, drip a little extra TRUFF hot sauce over them, and you’ll have yourself a delicious bite.
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder cut into 1.5- to 2-inch cubes
- ¼ lb. pork or chicken livers (optional)
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 oz. TRUFF Hot Sauce (separated, 1 oz. and 2 oz.), plus some for dipping
- 1 cup cooked white long grain rice
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup green onion, chopped
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Add pork (plus optional liver), onion, bell pepper, celery, jalapeño, salt, black pepper, oregano, paprika, garlic, cayenne, and 1 oz. TRUFF Hot Sauce to a pot and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, ideally overnight to let the flavors combine.
- Remove the pot from the refrigerator and add water to cover the pork halfway. Cover with a lid and simmer, stir occasionally until tender, about two to 2.5 hours.
- Once cooked, strain the meat and reserve the liquid.
- Shred and chop the cooked meat.
- In a bowl, combine the chopped meat, cooked rice, green onion, parsley, and 2 oz. TRUFF Hot Sauce. Once combined, start adding the hot liquid back into the meat mixture a few cups at a time. Mix thoroughly until the rice and meat absorb the liquid and a sticky texture is achieved. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Roll mixture into one-inch balls (use a small cookie or ice cream scoop for consistency).
- In three shallow bowls, separate flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs. Roll each boudin ball in the flour, dip in the beaten egg, then roll into the breadcrumbs to coat them. Place on a baking sheet or plate until ready to cook. Boudin balls can be made in advance up to this point.
- Cook boudin balls using one of the methods below.
- Serve with extra TRUFF Hot Sauce for dipping.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook for approximately 10–12 minutes.
- Pan Fry: Heat oil to 350 degrees and cook approximately 3–4 minutes. Roll boudin balls over and cook for another 2–3 minutes until golden brown.
- Air Fryer: Cook boudin balls at 375 degrees for approximately 8–10 minutes. Roll boudin balls halfway through cooking to brown evenly on all sides.
- Deep Fry: Heat oil to 350 degrees and cook for approximately 3–4 minutes or until golden brown.