Ever since I tried Mexican chorizo for the first time, I’ve been very fond of its bold flavor that pairs well with my tacos, sandwiches, and soups.
As a carnivore devotee for eight years, I made sure to dig up everything about chorizo, what it is, the different types of chorizo, and how to cook it.
I also sat with my dietician to get expert insights on the nutritional profile of chorizo, which I'll share further down.
Let's get started.
- Chorizo is cured pork meat and spices stuffed in a natural casing.
- Different types of chorizo include Mexican and Spanish chorizo.
- Pan-frying, broiling, and grilling are the best ways to cook chorizo.
What Is Chorizo?
Chorizo is cured pork meat mixed with different spices. Mexican chorizo sausages are smoked, cured, and fermented, producing a dry, spicy sausage link that you can eat raw, similar to prosciutto or salami.
Chorizo is frequently seen on charcuterie platters and is a favorite tapas dish served alongside other light snacks and drinks in Spanish and Mexican cuisines.
The three key components of chorizo are pork meat, garlic, and smoked paprika. During the preparation, coarsely chopped pork is combined with pork fat and spices.
The chorizos are then packed into organic casings and allowed to cure and dry.
In my experience, the spiciness/smokiness of different varieties of chorizos is one of the key differences. Longer, thinner chorizos are often spicy, but short, plump chorizos are not.
4 Types of Pork Chorizo
Here are the types of chorizo available, each with its unique taste and flavor:
1. Spanish Chorizo
Spanish chorizo is a ground pork sausage often flavored with garlic, chile peppers, smoked paprika, and other Spanish spices. Spanish chorizos are usually cured by smoking or air-drying and are used in various Spanish cuisines.
2. Mexican Chorizo
Mexican chorizo is generally made with finely ground pork, although other meats, such as offal and plant-based meat, can be used instead.
Fresh Mexican chorizo contains paprika, oregano, and vinegar, but most of the color and taste come from pasilla. Unlike other forms of chorizo, Mexican chorizo is heavily seasoned and frequently cooked alone without casing.
3. Chorizo Cantimpalo
There is no other better-tasting sausage like the Chorizo Cantimpalo, a specialty of Spain's Salamanca and Cantimpalo areas. Fresh, white, and fatty pork is used in this dish, which is then marinated, dried, and spiced.
This procedure results in a completely cured and dried chorizo, which has a great and distinctive texture and flavor that is to die for.
This Spanish chorizo-derived sausage is hot and fresh. It is seasoned mainly with cayenne, green onions, thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic, and dried herbs. I love how well chaurice pairs with jambalaya, gumbo, and kidney beans.
Also Read: Meats for a Charcuterie Board
3 Ways to Cook Chorizo
While you can cook chorizo in many ways, pan frying, broiling, and grilling are my favorite. Let's look at each cooking method.
To grill your chorizo:
- Preheat your grill.
- Place your chorizos with an even 1-mm inch spacing for good airflow.
- Close the lid to trap in the heat and cook your chorizo for 20 minutes until 160 F. Let your chorizo coll for a few minutes before serving.
- I always want a smoky flavor, so I use a charcoal grill and ensure the coals have burned well before grilling the chorizo.
2. Pan Frying
If you want to sear your chorizo, pan frying is the way to go:
- Heat your skillet over medium heat. Note that high heat will burn the chorizo before it's well done.
- Add your chorizo and a little water. You can use any cooking liquid you have, like beef stock.
- Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until all the liquid evaporates, and the chorizo is nicely browned. If you want a crispier bite, continue frying it dry for a few minutes.
Broiling chorizo is one of the easiest ways to prepare it. To do so:
- Preheat your oven and turn on the broiling setting
- Place the chorizo in a baking pan and put the rack in the broiling rack 6-7 inches from the heat source
- Broil for 15 minutes to 160F for a crispy and golden brown dish.
"When cooking chorizo, avoid boiling it. Chorizo has fat flecks that will melt when boiled, leaving you with a lump of dry and tasteless meat."
- Anya von Bremzen, Culinary Expert
Chorizo Nutritional Profile
As per the USDA, this is a brief nutritional profile of chorizo:
- Calories: A 100 g of chorizo contains roughly 455 calories. Apart from the meat ingredient, this high-calorie content is brought about by the spice blends used during its preparation .
- Protein: Chorizo is made up of chopped pork meat, meaning it's a protein powerhouse. A 100 g chorizo serving offers roughly 24 g of protein. This accounts for close to 48% of the daily recommended value for adults.
- Fat: Regarding fat content, chorizo has 38 g per 100 g. Of this, 14 g is total saturated fats and 88 mg of cholesterol. So, if you're prone to heart health issues, it's best to avoid chorizo meat altogether .
- Minerals: A 100 g of chorizo contains potassium (398 mg), sodium (1235 mg), and niacin (92.04 mg). Note that chorizo has a relatively high sodium content, so excessive consumption can cause high blood pressure .
Read More: What Is the Healthiest Meat to Eat?
Can You Eat Chorizo Raw?
Yes, you can eat chorizo raw. Ensure you buy dry and cured chorizo, as these are sold as ready-to-eat.
Does Chorizo Have Another Name?
Yes, chorizo has another name, including Morcilla for Latin America and linguiça for Portuguese chorizo.
What Organs Are in Chorizo?
There are no organs in chorizo. Chorizo is mainly made from ground meat and spices and cured to dry.
Do Mexican Restaurants Use Pork or Beef Chorizo?
Mexican restaurants use pork chorizo, although you can find beef varieties in some restaurants outside Mexico and Spain.
Does Chorizo Have an Edible or Inedible Casing?
Chorizo usually has an edible casing. However, some brands make chorizo with an inedible casing that should be peeled off before or after cooking.
Can You Use Ground Beef for Chorizo?
Yes, you can use ground beef for chorizo, but the original chorizo is made from pork.
Is Chorizo Good For You?
Whether a recipe is spicy or mild, chorizo's distinctive taste is sure to delight. On top of that, chorizo is a great source of protein and minerals.
However, the quality of chorizo can vary greatly depending on its source. Whenever I feel like having some Mexican cuisine, I always make sure to get my produce from reputable sources and turn to ButcherBox for spicy chorizo sausages.
I love ButcherBox because not only is their meat hormone- and antibiotic-free, but it is also amazingly tasty and delivered to your doorstep on your own schedule.