Making your own delicious Mexican chorizo at home!

Ok, I’ve finally tried making my own chorizo, since good Mexican stuff is impossible to get here, and the result is:

It’s easy! It’s good! Try it! :lick:

For my first attempt at chorizo I tried two recipes of my own design (after comparing lots of others online) side by side. They were both good, but the 2nd was much better:

Method 1: Easy way. Order chorizo spice mix from an eBay seller like richsas or a similar source, and buy a pound of 80% ground pork (that’s 20% fat), some cider vinegar, and white wine, dry. In a bowl, mix 2.5 TBSP cider vinegar and 2 TBSP white wine with 6 TBSP of chorizo spice mix (this is the way I made it the 1st time; it will be tasty but mild; it will be better and closer to the below recipe if you add another 2 TBSP for more flavor, and 1 to 4 tsp of cayenne if you like it spicy; optionally add some of the other ingredients in the recipe below for a fuller flavor). Add the pork, and mix very very thoroughly, e.g., with hands covered with plastic gloves, really working the stuff for 5 minutes. Leave covered, resting overnight to 2 days in fridge; (you can cook and try some at this point). Remix, then form long sausage-like strips on a sheet of parchment on a cookie tray, and leave UNcovered in fridge for a day; remix, and repeat, for about 2 days, so that the stuff can dry a bit. Wrap in parchment parcels in useful quantities, and seal these in ziplock bags. Stores several weeks in fridge or many months in the freezer.

Method 2: Tastier way, from scratch. For one pound of ground 80% pork:
• 2 dried ancho chiles, & 1 pasilla chile (if you can’t get these, you can order the powdered forms easily from SpicesGalore, which does ship to Taiwan for a reasonable price)
• 3 to 10 (I started with six) dried hot red chiles (the finger-sized Thai or local variety which shrinks to 1" when dry is fine); six was nice and spicy but not over the top. YMMV
• 1 pound ground 80% pork. Traditionally you’d want 65% I think. You can use leaner and add some olive oil for health.
• 1/2 medium white onion, finely minced
• 2.5 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
• 2.5 TBSP dry red wine or sherry or white wine (I used white)
• peeled cloves from one whole head of garlic
•1 TBSP garlic powder & 1 TBSP onion powder
• 2 tsp dried leaf Mexican oregano (also available from the above ebay seller, richsas)
• 1 tsp. whole cumin
• 1 TBSP tablespoon sweet paprika
• 2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/3 tsp nutmeg
• ¾ tsp brown sugar
• pinch of clove powder
• ¼ tsp thyme

On a hot griddle, toast the dry chiles and cumin for about 30 seconds. The chiles should just become dry, hot, & fragrant; do not allow to start really roasting or they will have a terrible scorched flavor. Grind the chiles and cumin in a spice grinder. Dump into blender. Add garlic and onion; blend further, along with liquid ingredients and a shot or two of XV olive oil, and all other ingreds except the meat. Turn off blender and mix with a spoon, then blend, again and again until thoroughly mixed. It should be a thick paste.

Mix ALL ingreds very well in a bowl, w/ disposable plastic gloves (EDIT: you can get 'em in boxes of a hundred at dry goods and sundries stores); you don’t want this much acid and capsicum on your skin, and as urodacus reminds us further below, you want to keep uncooked meat extremely clean, too). Repeat the wrapping and fridge-curing method outlined for the above easy recipe.

Edit: I actually got the best results by making both recipes above and then blending the two. :idunno: I’ll be making it again and will post improvements as available.

A health tip for sausage makers: as with any finely diced and mixed food, the chances of bacterial contamination are hundreds of times higher than if you just leave a piece of uncut meat in the fridge. Infected sausages will still go off in the fridge, even with the temperature being low, particularly if you leave them for weeks to cure. It just takes longer than at room temperature, of course, but E.coli and Salmonella still grow at 4 degrees, just 20-30 times slower than at 25 degrees.

So, when making sausages, ensure that EVERYTHING you use is well sterilised before any of the food gets to it. This includes things like the grinder for the spices, the knife used to slice the chilis, any bowls you use to mix in, spoons, the forcing funnel, the casings (casings must just be kept clean and not touched with dirty hands, you can’t really sterilise them) Most especially, though, is to sterilise the cutting board, especially if it’s wooden, by scrubbing well with detergent and then pouring litres of boiling water over it. also important is to sterilise your hands: using plastic gloves will help, but only if they are sterile to begin with. far easier to sterilise your hands by washing well, cleaning out under your fingernails, and then rinsing your hands well in 70% alcohol. also think about what you do with your clean hands after they’re clean: the moment you touch your face, your hands are no longer sterile. This goes for gloves too: if you touch your face or especially rub your nose while wearing gloves, the gloves are contaminated and you need new ones. for even better bacteria control, wear a hairnet and a face mask.

Many of the world’s worst food poisoning incidents have originated in smallgoods factories (not necessarily those run by dwarves).

happy cooking!

Sounds great DB, but where’s the part about the cheeks, tails, ears, noses, chins and other scraps? It ain’t chorizo if you can read the label and still eat it. :wink:

Also, where’s the part about stuffing it into an intestine?

I love chorizo, scrambled with eggs and wrapped in a warm tortilla. :lick:

But, I doubt I’ll find the time/patience to do it myself. So, hat’s off to you. :notworthy:

Thanks for the tips, urodacus! I’ll be freezing all of mine, which should help. The high acidity of chorizo and the very high levels of chiles and paprika should also help check bacterial growth, no?

All the more reason to make your own!

I did that. My intestines were quite happy.

(I always break the skins open and chop and scramble it anyway, so a sausage casing isn’t really useful. Packing and freezing it in sausage patty-like parcels is more convenient for me, and I don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the casings.)

MT, if you want to simplify it, you can just add the chorizo spice mix and vinegar and put it in a ziplock or bowl in the fridge, then use it the next day if you want some in a taco – couldn’t be easier.

How about papas con chorizo…Mmmmm, haven’t had that in a long time.

Most of what you put in your chorizo is what I put in my black beans. Absolute staples of Latin American cooking.

the high acidity will help to slow bacterial growth, but chili content has absolutely nada to do with it… chili seems hot only to animals with capsaicin receptors, and birds, for example, just don’t notice it at all, which is how chili plants get spread around, and bacteria would snack on it like any other nutrient source.

freezing will also stop the bacteria present from multiplying, but won’t kill them: it puts them into stasis.

they sound good.

i really want to get my old-fashioned meat mincer back from my storage at my mum’s house in australia, along with all my good pots now. you know, the ‘grinder handle–push the meat into a funnel’ deal: ideal for this, as you can grind our own thickness of meat, and control the quality of the ingredients too.

That I knew (the birds bit), but I was under the impression that paprika and capsicum both have antimicrobial properties.

OK, the statement of ‘nada’ was a generalisation: there is a slight antimicrobial effect from chili, but it’s not due to the capsaicin, but to other terpenes and to some cysteine-containg proteins in the chili oil from the seeds. secondly, the effect is not strong: garlic (in the amounts normally consumed) is far better at inhibiting the growth of many bacteria, including Gram-negative such as E.coli, probably the most risky food poisoning bacterium commonly seen in mixed meats, than chili (in the amounts normally consumed).

a recent survey of Mexico City taco vendors showed 40% of their chili sauces had E.coli, and 1/8 of them had enough E.coli to cause disease when eaten in the amounts normally consumed on a taco. So even in full strength chili sauce, bacteria do still survive.

paper: T. Estrada-Garcia, JF Cerna, MR Thompson and C Lopez-Saucedo, 2002. Faecal contamination and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in street-vended chili sauces in Mexico and its public health relevance. Epidemiol. Infect. 129:223-226.

Thanks for the recipe, DB!

The chief told me there’s a great game called “hide the chorizo”. I can’t wait to try it out.

[quote=“irishstu”]Thanks for the recipe, DB!

The chief told me there’s a great game called “hide the chorizo”. I can’t wait to try it out.[/quote]

Yeah, like we don’t know who’d win that …

My mama tried to poison me again at Christmas with some sausage crapola. Hi velocity matter from both ends. Not recommended. Careful, now!

[quote=“Buttercup”][quote=“irishstu”]Thanks for the recipe, DB!

The chief told me there’s a great game called “hide the chorizo”. I can’t wait to try it out.[/quote]

Yeah, like we don’t know who’d win that …

My mama tried to poison me again at Christmas with some sausage crapola. Hi velocity matter from both ends. Not recommended. Careful, now![/quote]

Eeewww. I guess you didn’t hide it deep enough.

Hmm, maybe I’ll double the garlic. Yum! I could up the vinegar and add some sherry too. Drool.

Oh, I believe you. And a lot of them probably just leave their chile sauces out, day after day, in the heat, topping them up when low. I won’t eat street food in D.F., no way. But I can’t even remember the last time I got food poisoning in Mexico, and I’ve been there a lot (totaling about 5-1/2 years there, I imagine). No, wait, just once – and that was a bad sandwich Mom made, with some Underwood chicken spread that had gone off, I think. 1976 or thereabouts.

I do sterilize my cutting board, but next time I do the chorizo, I’ll keep your additional tips in mind, thanks!

The only thing I remember about that game was saying something like “You call that a chorizo? That’s not a chorizo…that’s a chorizo!!!”

Recipe seems OK, I’d want to watch the fat content, remember that proper chorizo (of the Americas, that is, Portuguese is different IIRC), as you know, isn’t really meant to be eaten in the traditional tube-steak configuration, it’s a lot drier and crumblier.

:laughing: Yeah, this 80% worked out nicely that way. Just crumbly, not at all oily.

Not at all oily? How strange. Guess I’m used to that ubiquitous brand in US grocery stores, that forms a huge lake of disgusting red grease.

Yeah, I think most sausage has a third fat, or significantly more than this; plus all the powders in this (chiles, paprika, other spices, onion and garlic powder) were a significant proportion of the chorizo and probably absorbed what little excess oil was produced on sauteeing it. I used olive oil spray, not oil, in the pan, too. The result was quite crumbly and dry, with no grease left in the pan. Perfect for sprinkling atop crackers, potatoes, chicken, rice, etc.

With the US (and some Mexican) stuff, I have to drain the grease.

You should try ours. A delicious trails of yellow syrupy spicy goodness instead. :lick:

Once I had a jar of crushed red pepper here colonized by small helmet shaped beetle things, and chili powder by tiny white things. So I guess some kind of bacteria should be able to hack it

Yeah, but tiny insects aren’t usually toxic. :stuck_out_tongue:

My dried chile collection from Mexico is so valuable to me that I keep it sealed in a ziploc in the fridge, to keep it away from any possibility of such mini marauders or mold. Not that either is very likely, though.