Cheers, Cher: Wine Pairings for Classic Cajun Dishes

From five-star dining to Cajun food at home—few things really set a delicious meal off as well as an expertly paired wine. While some might fall into the “the more expensive, the better” trap, the truth is that when your wine is chosen specifically to complement the flavors present in your meal, you don’t have to break the bank to find a glass that brings your dish to life.

For many, the notion of pairing wine isn’t immediately associated with Cajun food—particularly among outsiders who think of Cajun cuisine as rustic meat or seafood dishes loaded up with spice. Anyone who has tasted truly authentic Cajun cooking knows otherwise, however. A properly prepared Cajun meal can actually be deceptively complex in its flavors. That being said, it’s no secret that red pepper plays a prominent role in Cajun food, so it’s still something to consider when making a selection.


Boiled Seafood

Red pepper’s relationship with Cajun food is most relevant when discussing a seafood boil. From shrimp to crabs to crawfish—the flavor profile of most boils is largely the same (though they can vary greatly from person to person and which boil seasoning they prefer). Though the spice of cayenne pepper is prominent and salt is never far from the front of the flavor profile, cloves, onion and garlic also feature in this famous Cajun seasoning blend. To balance the salt and spice, we would recommend an off-dry white wine that starts off sweet and crisp but finishes slightly dry. In addition to complementing the spice, salt and aromatics of the seasoning blend, a chilled white is great for sipping on during the day and in warm weather—which is when most boils take place!

Wines to pair with a seafood boil:

  • Riesling
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Tokaji

Boils aren’t just about the seafood, though! Don’t forget to add lots of smoked sausage along with your vegetables, and grab some dipping sauce as well!


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Is it Louisiana’s greatest contribution to the culinary world? It’s hard to say for sure, but gumbo is certainly in the conversation. This famous roux-based cold-weather favorite gets most of its flavor from the “Cajun Holy Trinity” of onions, bell peppers and celery. This means that it’s perfect for a medium-bodied red wine. Nightshade vegetables such as bell peppers as well as alliums like onions are enhanced and elevated by the delicate flavors of a medium red, and they pair perfectly with pork sausages like andouille as well as the seasoned chicken that makes up the other half of the gumbo meats. Furthermore, the mild notes of most medium reds won’t overpower any aspects of a delicious gumbo.

Wines to pair with chicken and sausage gumbo:

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot
  • Red Zinfandel

If you’re looking to skip straight to the gumbo-eating and wine sipping, check out this handy and delicious gumbo mix. Oh, and don’t forget the rice and the hot sauce!


Pepper Jack Boudin Balls

Listen, we know that most of our patrons aren’t enjoying our delicious fried boudin balls stuffed with gooey pepper jack cheese at home with a nice glass of wine. In fact, we have it on good authority that a large percentage of them are eaten before they even leave the parking lot. We get it; it’s hard to wait. Now that we offer nationwide shipping, however; there’s no reason you can’t turn a road trip favorite into a classy appetizer with a glass of wine. Heck: they make a perfectly good main course, too!

When it comes to these balls of delicious Cajun goodness, it’s safe to go bold. A strong and bold red wine is such a perfect match for the pork, seasonings, cheese and peppers that make up a cheesy boudin ball that it makes us consider selling them together.

Wines to pair with pepper jack boudin balls:

  • Malbec
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah
  • Bordeaux

By the way: these selections aren’t solely for our pepper jack boudin balls! A good bold red pairs with boudin in general. While it’s extra good with the pepper jack cheese infused boudin dishes such as our roll-ups and boudin bread, it’s a perfect partner for all of our boudin products!



A discussion of Cajun foods wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s favorite crunchy finger food: pork cracklins! Whether they’re fully seasoned by Billy’s flavor geniuses or just cracklins of the classic salted variety, the combination of perfectly crisp pork fat and a hearty crunch means that there was one wine that stood out as the ideal accompaniment to this star of Cajun charcuterie: a full-bodied fruity Rosé. Granted, a light red such as Gamay or Pinot Noir wouldn’t go amiss—but the bold and fruity (but not too sweet) flavors of a modern Rosé are the ideal partners for a pork cracklin! When served chilled alongside a seasoned cracklin, the non-tannic notes of these easy-sippers will have your taste buds dancing!

Wines to pair with pork cracklins:

  • Cabernet Rosé
  • Syrah Rosé
  • Malbec Rosé


Wine and Cajun Food for Every Mood

Boudreaux, meet Bordeaux: wine and Cajun foods pair a lot better than you might think. You don’t need classic French cuisine to enjoy a decent bottle of wine—but finding your perfect pairing isn’t always simple. While the rules explained here are a decent jumping-off point, they’re only a rough guideline and, ultimately; your palette will be your best teacher. The one true secret to really enjoying your next Cajun meal, however, is to get it from Billy’s! One taste of any of our authentic Cajun dishes, and you’ll never want to eat anything else! Thanks to our online store, you can now order Billy’s products to be shipped anywhere in the US! We’ll drink to that!

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