How to Make Your Own Dry-Cured Chorizo

Spanish chorizo
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Ratings (26)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 20 pounds (160 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
146 Calories
9g Fat
2g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20 pounds (160 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 146
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 418mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 15g
Calcium 23mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Families all over Spain make their chorizo, as it is a staple of the Spanish diet and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If you have visited Spain or eaten in a Spanish bodega or restaurant, you have probably tried this pork sausage seasoned with paprika and garlic. It is made with coarsely chopped pork meat and pork fat and is traditionally encased in pig intestines. 

This particular recipe calls for 20 pounds of meat, which makes a large quantity of chorizo, so feel free to use less and adjust seasonings as needed. You will also need a meat grinder for not only grinding the meat but also for filling the sausage casings. Finally, make sure to plan ahead because you will need to hang the chorizo to dry for two weeks.

Ingredients

  • 20 pounds pork butt (the weight of the meat with bone removed)
  • 3 heads of garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 8 ounces black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 bundle of sausage casings, cleaned

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the meat into a large tub. Add all other ingredients in order, a little at a time, starting with the salt. Add cayenne and just enough paprika to get the desired color.

  2. Knead the meat as if you were making bread. Fry a few tablespoons of the meat mixture and taste test it. If you think it needs more of a seasoning or two, add it now. Remember it is easy to add something, but it is not easy to remove once it is mixed in.

  3. Using the appropriate attachment on a meat grinder, fill the already cleaned casings with the meat. Leave about 1/2 an inch of unfilled casing on each side to tie the openings (you can fold sausage in half and tie ends together) or tie bottom end of casing before filling. Use a strong string and double tie each end. With a straight pin, prick the sausage several times all over. This will help them to dry faster.

  4. Hang the chorizo to dry in a very cool, dry place for 10 to 14 days or until they harden. They should get some ventilation but never a draft. They are ready to eat when they are solid all the way through and firm to the touch.

Tips

  • In step 2, if possible, one person should be mixing the meat with their hands while another person adds the ingredients.
  • If they get too much exposure to air, they may dry too quickly on the outside, which would prevent them from drying on the inside. If the casings begin to form a white coat, moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil and rub them to remove the white. After you have rubbed them with oil, dry them with a paper towel.
  • For a truly authentic taste, find pimenton de la vera, a type of Spanish paprika with a characteristic smoky flavor.

Recipe Variations

  • Fresh chorizo: Instead of letting the chorizo dry for 10 to 14 days, use it immediately in a recipe. Treat it like ground beef by crumbling and sauteing the meat in oil in a pan.
  • Mexican chorizo: Use a combination of fatty pork sausage and ground beef. Eliminate the garlic, red pepper, cayenne pepper, and ground cloves and season the meat with chili powder, ground paprika, and dried oregano.