You want to make something delicious from the chorizo you have at home, but how do you know when chorizo is done? It may be just simple cooking, but there probably is more than that for you to know.
Follow this article, and you will learn some of the best methods to prepare and cook a perfect dish for chorizo. And to become an expert in dealing with chorizo.
But What Is Chorizo?
You should find them very familiar, as if you have seen them somewhere before. It’s because they are a type of sausage, but different in the method of making, stronger in taste, and usually spicier.
Chorizo has its origin in Spain, and Mexico adapted the recipe and developed it into Mexican Chorizo. Till now, Spanish and Mexican chorizo are still the two greatest major types of chorizo that influenced everyone.
In addition, chorizo can be further separated into three categories based on the way they are made: fully cured, semi-cured, and fresh. Each one of them will have its own ideal preparation and cooking methods.
Likewise, depending on the chorizo type, you’ll see varying chorizo shelf-life when stored in the fridge, the freezer, or at room temperature. In fact, some chorizo types can last for months at room temperature whereas others can only stay fresh for 3 hours in the very same condition.
Spanish chorizo is mostly full cured and semi-cured pork mixed with paprika. This means it is already pretty well cooked and ready to eat; only the semi-cured requires cooking before consuming.
Unlike Spain, Mexican chorizo is unique with its freshness, made from ground pork and chili pepper. Its flavor is even stronger than that of Spanish chorizo. Of course, you will have to cook it properly since it’s basically raw meat. (1)
How To Handle Chorizo The Right Ways
As mentioned above, there are types of chorizo that you can eat straight up without the need for cooking. But there are also some that you must cook thoroughly or risk food poisoning. For the better good, you must learn how to differentiate those two types.
Spanish chorizo is always the easy-going type since all of them are either fully cured or semi-cured. All those processing stages of salting, curing, smoking, and drying have made them well prepared enough to be instant food.
Usually, you don’t have to do much with fully cured chorizo; it is already well-seasoned and well-cooked enough. You just need to heat it up if necessary, then add it to whatever dish you want, and that will do the job nicely.
Semi-cured chorizo is what you need to look out for since it’s just gone through half of the process compared to fully-cured, specifically, the drying stage. This means that it’s necessary to cook those semi-cured sausages before using them in any dish.
In order to distinguish those two, there are some simple features to take note of.
The easiest way to tell is by looking at the texture. Because of the drying process, fully cured chorizo is very low in moisture contents, so it tends to be firm, hard, and dry.
Also, due to the heavy seasonings, it will give out a typical intense aroma. If you can notice these features on the chorizo, then it’s safe to eat without the need for cooking.
You can consider this as the in-between of chorizo and normal sausage. It has the flavor of chorizo but also the soft and mushy texture of traditional sausage.
This is also the main characteristic for you to distinguish semi-cured from fully cured chorizo. If you find it soft, moist like your usual sausage, then you will need to cook it.
The fresh type of chorizo is a traditional food in Mexican cuisine. Made from fresh ground pork, added with Mexican spices, it is almost like minced meat stuffed into a sausage casing.
You can easily tell that they need cooking just by their appearance. The bright red color, soft texture, and typical scent of raw meat are something that you can never mistake with anything else.
They are the obvious sign that you need to cook them properly if you don’t want to suffer from food poisoning.
The first and most important thing you need to do with Mexican chorizo is to cook it.
How To Cook Chorizo Thoroughly?
I’m certain you wouldn’t want to find a swap-in for chorizo because you accidentally overcook the sausage and thus making the sausage impossible to eat. While it’s not the hardest thing in the world to cook chorizo, it’s not something that you can succeed without proper techniques.
In fact, cooking chorizo is something that requires you to monitor continuously, so it’s crucial to know when it is done. Especially for fresh chorizo, it’s quite hard to know when the sausage is done due to its bright red color and soft texture.
Don’t worry, there are some simple methods for you to tell when will be the right time.
Usually, when frying chorizos, you will cook them at least until they start to release the oil. The average time for each piece of chorizo should be around 4-6 minutes, while the whole sausage will take longer, about 15-20 minutes.
Cooking in the oven needs 20-30 minutes, and grilling will take 15-20 minutes.
Raw chorizo usually has a soft texture, while cooked chorizo is harder and firm, pretty similar to that of fried ground beef. If your chorizo is still mushy and can still keep its shape together, that means it needs more cooking time.
Also, cooking until it is well-caramelized on the outside skin will enrich the flavor.
Fresh and raw chorizo typically has a bright red color and will slowly turn to brown when cooked. Another sign is that when it’s starting to leak oil from the fat contained within. You should continue to cook until it’s completely brown or dull red.
Do not leave it at a pink color as it’s still undercooked.
One of the simplest and most accurate ways is to use a meat thermometer. You just need to stick it into the chorizo and check the temperature. The ideal number should be 70°C or 160°F.
There are many ways to prepare a chorizo dish, and you can always be creative in your endeavor of bringing out the incredible taste of chorizo. But much like any other type of sausages, the best way to serve chorizo is by grilling, frying, or broiling.
Keep in mind that for fully cured chorizo you don’t really have to cook them. These methods mostly apply to semi-cured and fresh chorizo.
|Methods of cooking||Time to cook||Temperature|
|Frying||14-20 minutes||Low to medium heat|
Grilling is the traditional method of cooking and also the best way to enjoy chorizo or sausage as a whole. If you are a fan of cooking outdoors, then grilling chorizo is the ideal way for you to have a tasty meal while breathing some fresh air.
Step 1: Heat Up Your Grill
For a gas grill, turn the heat to the highest for preheating. If you are using charcoal for a more natural flavor, light the charcoal and let it burn until the charcoal briquettes turn into ashen color. Then cover the grill and let it preheat for about 15 minutes.
Step 2: Place The Chorizo
When the grill is hot enough, place your chorizo on the grill. Remember to leave some space between each of them, should be about an inch. It will help the air circulate better and allow the heat to spread more evenly.
Step 3: Put On The Lid
Cover the grill with the lid to maintain the heat and cook better. Doing this will also help the chorizo have a deeper smoky flavor.
Step 4: Grilling
Usually, it will take about 15 – 20 minutes to grill chorizo. Don’t forget to rotate the chorizos every few minutes to make sure that they are evenly grilled on all sides. If you have a meat thermometer, just insert it into the chorizo and check if the temperature has reached 160°F.
Step 5: Take Out And Let Them Rest
After they have been grilling thoroughly and become a golden brown color, it’s time to put them out of the grill. Place the chorizos on a plate to rest for a few minutes, cover them with aluminum foil to keep the heat, and redistribute the juice into the meat.
Grilling is probably the best way to enjoy chorizos.
If you want to cook sliced chorizos or sear them like ground meat, frying is a great method for you to try. Just follow these simple steps, and it will be done.
Step 1: Heating The Pan
Start with medium heat, place the pan over until it heats up. Normally, cooking with low heat is better for the flavor of chorizo, but if you don’t have much time, medium heat will also do just fine.
Step 2: Add Water And The Chorizo
When the pan is hot enough, put a little water in the pan to prevent sticking, then the chorizo. You don’t need to use oil because chorizo itself contains a lot of fat. It will melt and give out an eye-catching red oil.
Step 3: Cover And Cook
Put a lid over the pan to keep heat and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Remember to occasionally turn the chorizos so they can be equally cooked.
Step 4: Keep cooking
Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes until the chorizos have turned golden brown.
Step 5: Serving
Take the chorizos from the pan and place them on a plate; they are now ready to serve.
Frying chorizo is one of the basic steps to make other dishes.
It’s an easy way to cook chorizo while maintaining the flavor. If you want a simple method without the need to pay too much attention to it, then an oven is what you need.
Step 1: Adjust The Rack
Some recipes will require you to adjust the position of the rack for better broiling. In this case, chorizo needs to be about 7-9 inches from the heat source.
Step 2: Preheat The Oven
First, check the oven to make sure that there is nothing inside, then simply turn on the broiling setting and wait for it to heat up.
Step 3: Put The Chorizos In
Put the chorizos separately and evenly on the broiler rack so that the heat can circulate around them easier.
Step 4: Broiling
Let them broil for about 13-15 minutes on each side until you see the chorizos turn golden brown, then remove them from the oven. You can now enjoy the tasty hot chorizo.
Cooking chorizo can be easy when you know how to do it.
Homemade Chorizos And Simple Recipes To Come With Them
When you already know the right methods of cooking chorizo, it’s time to put them into practice with some good and simple recipes for chorizo.
Sometimes, if it’s hard for you to buy chorizo, you can always make them right at home. Ground pork, pepper, vinegar are all you need to make a great Mexican Chorizo.
For this type of chorizo, it’s a little tricky to make due to the curing process, but you can still manage to do it if you try. With a suitable replacement for the Spanish spices, you can make them just as good as the original.
Chorizo and egg is one of the basic recipes for anyone who wants to give it a try with chorizo. Eggs are the perfect companion for chorizo; together, they will make a simple yet great breakfast that can satisfy anyone.
Potatoes are also great ingredients to make the salty and spicy flavor of chorizo shine. This tasty and fulfilling dish can warm you up and fill your stomach at the same time.
Cooking chorizo is quite tricky but also very excited, and for you to do it even better, have a look at some additional information:
Always Be Creative
Chorizo is the kind of special food that brings much more potential to many other dishes.
It is versatile, flexible no matter on its own or combined with other food. It will always bring out the potential that will surprise you.
When it comes to cooking and cuisine, there are many possibilities, not just about one or two recipes. Today you learn about some basic methods, but tomorrow you may discover much more than that.
Don’t hesitate to share this article with everyone and get them on the journey together with you, and perhaps one day you will also become the one who teaches everybody.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Chorizo – Wikipedia.
- Food Data Center.2022.