How to Throw the Ultimate Cajun Tailgate in 6 Recipes

If you’ve never experienced tailgating in Louisiana, you’re missing out, especially when it’s LSU tailgating. Louisianans are not only sports fanatics but they are also food fanatics, and if you’ve ever tasted Cajun food, you’d easily know why. Tailgating is taken seriously in the Bayou state. You won’t find many hot dogs and hamburgers here, but instead you will find traditional Cajun recipes as well as some more obscure offerings (yes, we’re talking about alligator, and just so you know, it’s delicious). We’ve put together some of our favorite Cajun recipes perfect for your next Louisiana-inspired tailgating experience.

Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters

charbroiled oysters recipe
Charles C. Place/Getty Images

(Recipe courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb butter, softened (and/or margarine)
  • .5 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 6 dozen oysters on the half shell
  • 1 cup grated mixed Parmesan and Romano
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot French bread, for serving

Method:

  1. Mix the butter with the garlic, pepper, and oregano.
  2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill and put oysters on the half shell right over the hottest part. Spoon the seasoned butter over the oysters enough so that some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up a bit.
  3. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan and Romano and the parsley on top.
  4. The oysters are ready when they puff up and get curly on the sides, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
  5. Serve on the hot shells immediately with French bread.

Drago’s Alligator Mac and Cheese

(Recipe courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Rotini Pasta
  • 1 – 1.5 lb farm-raised alligator, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Blackened seasoning
  • 1/3 c onion, diced
  • 1/3 c zucchini, shredded
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 stick butter
  • 1 qt half and half
  • .5 c cream cheese
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 tbsp chicken base
  • .5 c Parmesan and Romano cheese, grated
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • .5 lb shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz cubed Velveeta or similar cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook pasta al dente in salted water.
  3. In a pan, mix diced onion, shredded zucchini, and chopped garlic with butter and sauté on low fire until translucent.
  4. Add half and half, cream cheese, and chicken bouillon/base. Cook down and bring to a light boil.
  5. Add Parmesan/Romano cheese, and cayenne pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Dust alligator meat in blackened seasoning and lightly cook in a separate skillet.
  7. In an oven-safe pan, layer pasta, alligator meat, cheddar cheese, and Velveeta. Cover with cream sauce and bake 20-25 minutes.

Boudin Balls

boudin balls
Ingredients:

  • 3 lb boudin sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 tbsp Creole mustard, or other whole-grain spicy mustard
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste

Method:

  1. Prepare breading station: Make the seasoned flour by adding 1 tablespoon of salt to the flour and stir. Place seasoned flour and breadcrumbs in individual shallow bowls. In a third shallow bowl, whisk the eggs together with the milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Remove boudin from casing into a mixing bowl.
  3. Shape the boudin into balls the size of golf balls. Dredge the balls in the flour, and then dip them in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Finally, dredge the balls in the breadcrumbs, turning to coat them evenly.
  4. Transfer the boudin balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  5. Preheat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Using tongs and working in batches, place the balls gently into the oil and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain briefly on the prepared baking sheet with rack. Let them cool briefly before serving.
  6. While the boudin balls cool, make the Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, creole mustard and Cajun seasoning.
  7. Serve the boudin balls hot or warm, with the Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce alongside.

Crawfish Bread

Ingredients:

  • .25 cup olive oil
  • .25 cup butter (½ stick)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (tops and bottoms)
  • .5 cup finely chopped celery
  • .25 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • .25 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • .25 cup white wine
  • 1 lb peeled Louisiana crawfish tails, with fat
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into small squares
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 1 (11-ounce) roll refrigerated French bread dough
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil and butter until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add crawfish tails and wine; stir ingredients well and add cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted.
  3. Add Cajun seasoning and cook until all is thickened, just a few minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and let flavors blend.
  4. Carefully roll out French bread dough on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese.
  5. Spoon crawfish mixture onto center of dough. Sprinkle on remaining shredded cheese, reserving 1 tablespoon. Fold dough over mixture and tuck ends under to make a loaf.  Use the remaining tablespoon of cheese to sprinkle on top.
  6. Cut five to six small slits in dough across the top of the loaf.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until loaf is golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven. Allow bread to set for a few minutes. Slice into serving-size pieces. Servings 5-6.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

chicken and sausage gumbo
Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • .75 vegetable oil
  • .75 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 2 qt hot chicken stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • .5 tsp dried thyme
  • .5 to 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Filé powder (optional)
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Garnish: chopped green onions

Method:

  1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set sausage aside.
  2. Cook chicken in reserved drippings in Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. Remove to paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set chicken aside.
  3. Add enough oil to drippings in Dutch oven to measure .5 cup. Add flour, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is chocolate colored.
  4. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender. Gradually add 2 quarts hot water, and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, garlic, and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
  5. Add sausage to gumbo; cook 30 minutes. Stir in green onions; cook for 30 more minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.
  6. Remove gumbo from heat. Sprinkle with filé powder, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired. Serves 10

Alligator Ribs

Ingredients:

  • 6 lb alligator ribs
  • 32 oz your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Wood chips, for smoking

Method:

  1. Brush alligator ribs with enough barbecue sauce to coat.
  2. Place ribs on a rack set in a baking pan.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 3 hours at 300 degrees F. Remove alligator ribs from the oven.
  5. When cool enough to handle, remove the plastic wrap and cover loosely with the aluminum foil; allow the ribs to rest 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare a smoker with your favorite type of wood chips.
  7. Transfer the ribs to the smoker and smoke for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the ribs; alligator ribs are very lean and dry out easily, so you may want to remove smaller ribs from the smoker first.
  8. After smoking, coat the ribs with more barbecue sauce.
  9. While ribs are smoking, preheat a grill to medium-high. Place ribs on the grill and grill just until sauce begins to caramelize. Serve immediately.

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