Making Black Pudding and Souse in Barbados!

After exploring Barbados and many aspects of the island over the previous several days, I knew there was one thing I needed to finally dive into: black pudding and souse. This is one of the national dishes of Barbados, and I’m about to show you why!

My buddy Craig and his girlfriend Nerissa took me to meet Craig’s mother Brenda, who would be showing me all the steps to making this national favorite! This sausage dish consists of pork, vegetables, chilies, and much more, comes with a number of delicious sides!

What is Black Pudding and Souse?

A plate of black pudding, souse, breadfruit, and steamed pudding in Barbados | Davidsbeenhere

Black pudding and souse is a popular traditional dish in Barbados that has a history dating back hundreds of years. The black pudding is a pork sausage traditionally made with pig’s blood, and is both rich and flavorful. It’s usually paired with souse, a sauce made from pickled pork, onion, cucumber, and lime juice. The combination of these two dishes creates a unique blend of earthy, savory, and tangy flavors.

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Back in the day, enslaved people made the sauce, or souse, with blood. However, blood has fallen out of favor and is no longer used. But in the black pudding, they use pig head, sweet potatoes, onions, marjoram, and thyme. They also use chilies, cucumbers, onions, limes, parsley, and more for the spouse!

Prepping the Black Pudding and Souse

David Hoffmann and Craig's mother Brenda hold a raw pig's head | Davidsbeenhere

Brenda had bought a whole pig head at the market, which they slice down the middle. It still contained the tongue, brains, and ears, all of which I loved. We also had the maw, or stomach; trotters (feet); and intestines.

She showed me how you clean the intestines and are ready to stuff them. She then salted the head, cut off the ears, and squeezed lime juice over the head to further tenderize it.  Then, she added the ears and pig feet back into the container and added some vinegar. She’d let it marinate overnight and add peppers to it.

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I took a small bite of chili pepper, but it was way too hot! Then, she started working on finely dicing the onions, cucumbers, chilies, and parsley for the souse. She also added lime juice. I tried a bit. It reminded me of a spicy tabbouleh!

Then, she started peeling and grating the sweet potato. Next, she ground the onions, shallots, potatoes, marjoram, and thyme in a machine. This was a small sample of what we’d use to stuff the intestines tomorrow! Then, she added salt, sugar, and pepper, as well as a browning syrup, which replaces the blood and makes the mixture dark. Next, we mixed the peppers, cucumbers, onions, and parsley in a food processor for the souse. I tasted it; it was fantastic!

The Next Morning

A table full of dishes containing black pudding, white pudding, steamed pudding, souse, and breadfruit | Davidsbeenhere

The next day, we returned to finish everything! I started with some fresh coconut water, and then Brenda cleaned the pork, including the meat and the stomach. She layered it inside the pressure cooker and added cinnamon, cloves, chilies, salt, and bay leaves. Then, she added bundles of thyme and marjoram.

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She put the trotters and head pieces into another pressure cooker with more spices. It already smelled so good! It would take 30-40 minutes in the pressure cooker. She’d add the cooked pork to a container of salted lime water.

The pork broth had a nice cinnamon flavor. The meat was all falling off the bone! She added the broth to the mixture from yesterday, which she then added to the browned souse mix from yesterday.

Eating Black Pudding and Souse

David Hoffmann and his guide Craig eat black pudding and souse | Davidsbeenhere

She baked some in a casserole dish as a loaf. Then, she tied one end of the intestine, put the other end around a funnel spout, and added the un-browned souse. Then she tied the ends together and boiled it. Then she repeated the process with the browned souse for the black pudding!

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She juiced a lime and added it and parsley to the pickle mixture, which was amazing. She adds it to the breadfruit, and adds the cooked pork to the pickle mix. She removes the fat and the outer layer of the tongue and adds the pickle. Then, after 6 hours of prep and cooking, it was time to eat!

The white pudding was so flavorful. I loved the potato and spice filling. The steam pudding had a sweetness from the cinnamon and cloves. I loved the lime juice throughout, and the breadfruit blew me away!

The black pudding also had a similar sweetness. And the actual pork was tender and juicy. Then, we finished with coconut water and mauby! It was all phenomenal!

Where have you been?

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