Deep-Fried Corn and Houston's Best Boudin Balls at Samburger
If we keep eating like this, we're going to die before we hit 40.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
You don't have to head down to Reliant Stadium to experience some of the best fried food in Houston, and this fried food doesn't leave town after Rodeo season is over. Just head east on I-10 to Lockwood, and hit up the cheerful red drive-thru called Samburger (6205 Lyons).
When a friend of Eating Our Words mentioned that there was a hamburger stand in the Fifth Ward, just down the street from The Nickel, that was serving deep-fried corn on the cob, it was only a matter of time before that delicacy was going to end up in our bellies. Yesterday afternoon, sunny and crisp, was the perfect day to enjoy Samburger's food along with the friend who'd tipped us off. Since it's a drive-thru, you're better off eating there on a day when you can grab a prime spot at one of the two picnic tables out front.
But although we initially headed to Samburger for deep-fried corn on the cob, another item caught our eye: boudin balls. These elusive little nuggets are a must-try menu item anywhere they're spotted, and we couldn't simply ignore this good fortune. We ordered a batch of those along with the corn, and a Samburger with cheese for good measure.
One thing is certain: More places should deep-fry corn on the cob. Of course it isn't healthy. But it was one of the best fried items we've tried anywhere -- the State Fair in Dallas included. The corn appeared to have been parboiled (or at least nuked) before being dropped in the deep fryer. The crispy, slightly spicy batter tasted like the coating on a juicy drumstick, but with the sweet gush of corn kernels hiding underneath. "It's so weird...and delicious," our friend exclaimed happily as he devoured his half ear of corn.
But as tasty as the corn was, the boudin balls were the real hidden treasure of the afternoon. They didn't look like much from the outside and appeared, in fact, dense and bland. But the second our teeth broke the crust, we realized this was nothing like any other boudin ball we'd tried. Effortlessly fluffy rice hid underneath, with thick bites of meat and a judicious amount of seasoning studding the crispy sphere. We nearly fought our friend for the third boudin ball in the bag before he realized that we fight dirty and that even Houston's best boudin ball wasn't worth a bald patch on his head.
The Samburger with cheese was good, but almost an afterthought. And the corn on the cob was every bit as delicious as we'd imagined it to be. But the boudin balls are what we'll always turn to Samburger for from now on. If there's a better boudin ball in Houston, we want to know where it is.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.