In our guide to our favorite cookbooks, I listed Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Book. This book got me into making my own sausage. Making your own sausage is a great way to control the ingredients and fat content. I have many types of sausage over they years, but one I will always make myself instead of buying is chorizo. This is my Mexican Chorizo recipe.
Chorizo is the Spanish word for sausage. This means there are all kinds of chorizo (there is a good guide here). The kind you find is Spain is far different than what you find in Mexico. Our focus is on the spicy Mexican version which features cumin, chili powder and hot peppers. Chorizo is something I don’t like to buy in stores and am leery of eating at restaurants. The ingredients for chorizo often list stuff like salivary glands and other organ meats. The Daring Gourmet site agrees and has their own recipe for chorizo. This version has cinnamon and cloves, while my version I believe is probably more on the spicy side.
We have our own meat grinder, a Weston. This is the second meat grinder we bought and it is a huge improvement on our previous one. I think you can also use a food processor to grind meat, but I never tried it. One thing I have learned is to make sure the meat is partially frozen before grinding.
Pork shoulder is what we use for chorizo, either a bone-in picnic pork shoulder or a boneless butt. I find that this meaty is fatty enough as is and there is no need to add additional pork back fat. I will admit when we have been time pressed we have bought pre-ground pork. When grinding the meat I run it through it twice. The first time through the largest disc and the second time through the medium disc.
A beauty of chorizo is it does not need to be stuffed into casings. In recipes, chorizo is generally crumbled or formed into patties. Most of the time when we make sausage we don’t stuff them. Stuffing sausage is a labor intensive, frustrating ordeal and I generally only get motivated to do it every few years. Most of our homemade sausage is unstuffed.
This recipe is for only one pound. When I make carnitas or Carolina pulled pork I usually save aside a small portion (1-2 lbs) for the chorizo. Of course, it can be made in bulk and frozen. On the occasions when we do stuff sausage, I tend to make 15 pounds or more of various different sausages. As I develop more chorizo recipes I may increase the amounts. Right now our main recipe using chorizo is our Cuban Frita burgers.
Mexican Chorizo recipe
- 1 lb ground pork butt or picnic pork shoulder
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
Grind pork in meat grinder. Add spices, pepper and vinegar and mix by hand. Freeze for up to 2 months or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To make more simply multiply the ingredients. Add more or less spices and peppers to taste. It is okay to use pre-ground pork.
Adapted from Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book