Many holidays often turn into an excuse to drink and party, but Mardi Gras is truly in a category all to itself. The concept behind this particular day of celebration is for people to basically indulge to their hearts' content before Lent begins and midnight Mickey D's becomes a thing of the past—or at least for 40 days. 

If you're going to do Mardi Gras, you have to do it big, and that means beads, booze, and Bourbon Street. I know, I know; we can't all make the trek to the Promised Land of Mardi Gras. However you, yes you, can throw down New Orleans-style right in the comfort of your own hometown with these essential Mardi Gras recipes. 

1. Hurricanes

alcohol, ice, juice, sweet, cocktail
Abigail Wilkins

Let's get right down to business: liquor is a crucial component to a Mardi Gras turn-up. The Hurricane was created in New Orleans and this particular recipe only takes five minutes to make. 

2. Bacon Pancakes 

bread, pancake, butter, jam, dairy product, chocolate, pastry, cream, cake, sweet
Alexander Furuya

Fun fact: Mardi Gras is also called Pancake Day. Back in Ye Olden Days, the fat, butter, and eggs in these hotcakes were considered the epitome of what should be avoided during Lent. So naturally it's exactly what people ate the day before the season began. 

Adding bacon to the batter, like in this pancake recipe further emphasizes the whole "time to eat/drink everything I'll be missing out on for the next 40 days" concept. 

3. Grits

chicken, onion, pork, rice, pepper, meat, vegetable
Samantha Yudin

Shrimp and grits are to the South what peanut butter and jelly is anywhere else in the US. This grits recipe packs on the pleasure. Adding cheese and bacon, and making it ideal for people giving up meat products for Lent. Better enjoy it while you can. 

4. Jambalaya

If you really want to get into the "N'Awlins" spirit, then jambalaya has to be on the menu. This recipe is directly from a Louisiana native's cookbook and turns what could be a potentially complicated cooking process into a dish that's totally doable, even for an inexperienced chef. 

5. Cajun Beer Bread

barbecue, beef, sauce, meat, chicken, pork
Keren Straus

Combining two popular "indulgences" that are often sacrificed for Lent—alcohol and bread— this dish practically screams Mardi Gras. It also goes well with wings, if you're feeling so inclined.

6. Étouffée

rice, soup, meat, vegetable
Vickie Nguyen

This stew-like food's name comes from the French word "to smother," and it absolutely lives up to that title. It's a filling dish, complete with the "Holy Trinity" and seafood of your choice. Top your rice off with it and you're practically on Bourbon Street. 

7. King Cake

chocolate, cake
Mimi Takano

King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras dessert that usually contains a small, hidden figurine in the middle and whoever finds it in their slice gets to be a "king" for the day.  

Also, that same lucky duck is supposed to be in charge of hosting the festivities next year. Better go ahead and bookmark this article, because someone is going to to be needing these recipes. 

8. Po' Boy Pizza

tomato, meat, dough, mozzarella, sauce, crust, cheese, pizza
Vernell Dunams

No, this is not the original sandwich that is Louisiana's claim to fame; but this is better. Plus, any hybrid recipe that uses pizza is worth a try if you ask me.

9. Crawfish Queso  

crust, pie, cheese, pizza
Kris Richard

Do you know how many things you can do with melted cheese? It's a magical substance just waiting to spice up the life of an everyday cracker or breadstick. Add crawfish and we've got ourselves a Mardi Gras classic in the making.  

10. Red Beans and Rice

cereal, kidney bean, meat, sausage, vegetable
Vernell Dunams

If there's one thing Louisiana natives adore, it's their red beans and rice. Apparently, it was even Louis Armstrong's favorite; that's how deep this goes. It just won't be a true Mardi Gras function if homage isn't paid to the roots of the culture. 

#Spoon Tip: Red beans take hours to cook properly, so be sure to set out some extra cooking time in your schedule for them. 

Now go forth, and make those Mardi Gras spirits proud.