What Is Chorizo?

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience a Mexican chorizo breakfast, you may have been confused to encounter an entirely different type of chorizo on a charcuterie plate. Are these both the same chorizo? Let’s get to the bottom of this and answer the question, what is chorizo sausage?

What is chorizo?

Chorizo is a spiced sausage. What meat is chorizo? Chorizo is usually made of pork (though there are some vegan chorizos around these days). But it’s more complicated than just spiced pork sausage. Chorizo can mean different things, depending on where you are or what type of food you’re eating. There’s a Mexican version and there’s a Spanish version. Mexican chorizo sausage is usually raw, uncooked pork mixed with a variety of spices, while Spanish chorizo is usually a paprika heavy, smoked, and cured or semi-cured sausage. 

What is in chorizo? 

So, what is Chorizo made of specifically? Traditional chorizo is almost always made with pork. But there are specialty chicken, beef, and even vegetarian soy-rizo versions. 

Spanish chorizo is made with cured or semi-cured pork and is spiced with paprika, garlic, pepper and, sometimes, wine. Since it’s smoked and therefore ready to eat, it’s a good sausage for a picnic or to just carry around in your pocket for snacking. What, you think you’re too good for pocket sausage? 

Mexican chorizo is made with uncooked pork and a combo of guajillo or ancho chiles, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, paprika, and vinegar. There is also green chorizo, made with cilantro and tomatillos. 

Is chorizo spicy?

Mexican chorizo is usually spicy, but the level of heat can vary. Spanish chorizo can be spicy or a bit sweet.

How do you eat chorizo? 

Spanish chorizo can just be eaten straight up with the casing. You can put it on a charcuterie plate. It can also be sliced into soups, stews, or pastas. When preparing Mexican chorizo, you usually cut open the casing and dump the sausage innards onto a skillet. The most common preparation is to cook it with scrambled eggs or in a taco. You can crisp it in a pan and serve over salad, with melted cheese, in pasta, by itself, or with anything that could use a crispy, spicy kick. 

How to pronounce chorizo?

Chorizo is pronounced choh-REE-soh. If you are British, however, you might pronounce it choh-RIT-zoh. That is your prerogative, but you are incorrect. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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