Some essential ingredients for a road trip: good tunes, to peel back the miles; a phone charger, of course; and, if this road trip is in south Louisiana, a good old fashioned ice chest, for souvenirs of the edible variety.

A drive around these parts will not bring you sweeping views of mountains and valleys. But it will bring you close to wonders of the Louisiana food world, namely boudin, the rice and pork sausage link that can be a snack on the way or the whole purpose of the trip.

Boudin has no season, but it still feels like we are approaching its prime. This is easy food that wows people at gatherings, like those football parties, the holiday parties on the horizon and parade parties to come.

Boudin inspires a special kind of brand loyalty. The links might look the same, but people hold their favorite suppliers in high esteem, with a devotion that others might reserve for their hairdresser or therapist.

But still, I’ve never met a boudin obsessive who wasn’t compelled to try the next one, and who wasn’t forever angling for intel on someone else’s prized find. Put some boudin on the table and people will invariably ask where you got it. They want to know the provenance.

After all, there are people who pursue great boudin around south Louisiana the way others explore a particular wine grape from one vineyard to the next. They're probably not journaling tasting notes, but you can bet many are writing down names for future reference.

That’s because the search for boudin is not merely shopping. It satisfies something deeper, maybe some vestige from our hunter-gatherer past.

In New Orleans these days, though, the hunting grounds have grown a great deal closer to home. Thank the local butchers now making their own here in the city.

That means the boudin trail runs right through New Orleans, in a way we could only have dreamed of a few years back.

My own personal honor roll runs through Piece of Meat in Mid-City, Shank Charcuterie in the Marigny, Très Bon Cajun Meats in River Ridge, Bourree at Boucherie in Carrollton and Butcher downtown, Chris’ Specialty Meats in Lakeview and Gourmet Butcher Block in Gretna (details below).

That’s a lot of boudin. But no one is saying you have to eat it all at once. That’s what the freezer at home is for.

So, whether you’re traveling across state or running an errand across town, remember to keep your ice chest chilled and your boudin close at hand.

Bourrée at Boucherie

1510 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-510-4040. Open daily

Butcher

930 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-588-7675. Open daily

Chris’ Specialty Meats

6521 West End Blvd., 504-309-0010. Open daily

Gourmet Butcher Block

2144 Belle Chasse Hwy, Gretna, 504-392-5700. Mon.-Sat., closed Sun.

Piece of Meat

3301 Bienville St., 504-372-2289. Thu.-Tue., closed Wed.

Très Bon Cajun Meats

10316 Jefferson Hwy., 504-405-5355. Tue.-Sat., closed Sun., Mon.

Shank Charcuterie

2352 St. Claude Ave., 504-218-5281. Tue.-Sun., closed Mon.


Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.