What is Chorizo

  • By: Jack Mancuso

What is Chorizo

If you’ve cooked any Hispanic cuisine, you’ve likely come across Chorizo. It’s a common ingredient in tacos and nachos. But did you know there are several types of chorizo? 

In Spain, each region has a variation. As the Spanish people moved around the world, so did their sausage. It is reminiscent of pepperoni. 

What is chorizo? Explore further!

Chorizo Components

The basics of chorizo boil down to three thijgs: pork, garlic, and smoked paprika. Once chopped and mixed, it goes into natural casings. Some people use chilis in place of paprika, and some add vinegar. Now the sausage has to cure. 

It’s worthy of note that some people think of nearly any spicy sausage when they hear chorizo. Nonetheless, you will find chorizo with different flavor profiles, and in different shapes, sizes, and colors. For example, pale chorizo has no paprika.

Clash of the Chorizos!

Once exposed to the world of chorizo, everyone finds a favorite. Here are a few. 

  • Argentine: It’s hard to pin down this chorizo since many families have their own special recipes for it. Two interesting additions are nutmeg and wine.
  • Cantimpalo: smoky, rich in garlic, and a regular visitor to tapas offerings. 
  • Columbian: Perfect for gilling and frying. Common in South America this version may indue green onion..
  • Mexican: You need to cook this; it’s fresh. The color comes from chilis, and some types feature oregano
  • Mexican Green: This sausage has a fine grind. It includes tomatillo, cilantro, and coriander. 
  • Spanish: Coarse ground, cured pork. Milder than Mexican.

Let’s Get Cooking

Different varieties of chorizo require varying treatments for a meal. Spanish chorizo requires no cooking, so you can serve it up in bite-size treats, or put it right into your brasier for soup or stew. Make sure to remove the casings. 

Mexican chorizo is a little fussier, needed to cook. Like the Spanish version, the casing usually comes off for dishes. When yo fry it up you need no cooking oil. The sausage’s fat does all the work for you. 

Heading for a cookout? Grab the Columbian chorizo. Use a fork and poke the surface with holes. You get the best taste when you cook this sausage over charcoal. Really, you can barbecue them like you might kielbasa. 

PitMaster’s Memo: Curious about Chorizo?

  1. You can buy chorizo without the casing
  2. Chorizo appears in traditional Spanish soups
  3. You can use citrus to brighten up the flavor of chorizo
  4. There’s no escaping it: chorizo is spicy
  5. You cannot substitute Mexican chorizo with Spanish in recipes
  6. Chorizo comes from the same region as Iberico pork
  7. Legend has it that a peasant gifted King Charles IV with a piece. The King liked it so much it became part of his table


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