Types of Chorizo are an important matter for you to consider, as they are one of the best foods to bring to the table. Just solely by their appearance can add a whole new level of flavor to the dish.
With this article, you will learn all the basic things about different types of Chorizo, how Chorizo tastes, what they are, where they come from, what to do with them, and if you should freeze Chorizo. You may end up loving your Chorizo even more when you get to know them better.
Table of Contents
General Types Of Chorizo
Chorizo has a very big family tree starting from Spain as the root and spreading all over the world. Chorizo with different origins has different Chorizo defining characteristics and eventually develop into its own type over time.
But in general, people often divided Chorizo into two major types based on their style and methods of making. They are also the greatest pillar in the family tree of Chorizo: Spanish Chorizo and Mexican Chorizo.
Moreover, in terms of processing, Chorizo can also be separated into different categories that are: fully cured, semi-cured, and fresh. The Spanish rule the fully and semi-cured section, while the Mexican is number one at the fresh.(1)
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By understanding what type of Chorizo yours is, you’ll know the average shelf-life of Chorizo in the fridge, in the freezer, and at room temperature. This will also help you choose the best storage option to extend the time your Chorizo can stay fresh.
Here is a simple chart for you to understand the basic difference of the three:
|Status after processing||Ready to eat||Need to be cooked||Need to be cooked|
|Time to made||6 -10 weeks||1-2 weeks||Within a day|
|Form||Hard and firm||Firm, not as hard as fully cured||Soft, loose|
The eldest of the family, Spanish Chorizo has come a long way since its first appearance in the 14th century and then began to spread across the world in the 16th century. Mexico is one of the first to receive and adapt this delicious dish from Spain. Let’s see some Spanish chorizo varieties.
This table will show you some of the notable variants of Spanish Chorizo.
|Chorizo Iberico||Iberico pork, premium spices||Unique, deep in flavor with moderate spiciness|
|Chorizo Iberico Bellota||Iberican pork ham, high-quality herbs||Unique, deep in flavor, smoky|
|Chorizo Cantimpalo||Marinated pork, paprika||Mild, easy to eat|
|Chorizo Riojano||pork, pimenton, dulce||Balance in flavor, yet intense aroma|
How They Made
To honor the tradition, Spanish Chorizo still maintains the old way of making and only adds some improvement over the years. Most of the process is still done by hand with little assistant from machines.
Traditionally, Spanish Chorizo is made from chopped pork and pork fat, adding paprika and garlic, all stuffed into a casing (usually made from natural gut).
With its main ingredient taken in mind, you can use ground pork as something to replace Chorizo when you’re in a pinch. You’ll just need to add in a bit more pork fat, chili pepper, paprika, and some oil to round out its taste.
The characteristic natural red color is from the paprika mixed within. And it’s not just ordinary paprika but a special kind of smoky version known as “peminton”. It’s an exclusive traditional flavor from Spain.
This is what gives the Spanish Chorizo an unmatched flavor to any kind of sausage in the world. Specialty, you can choose between the spicy or sweet varieties to fit your taste.
In the culinary world of Spain, Chorizo is either cured or semi-cured, softer or drier, depending on the region they will have their own style. Most of the Spanish Chorizo is smoked, but sometimes they can be left unsmoked.
After the pork has been properly chopped and seasoned, it will go through the smoking process to preserve the meat and add another layer of flavor.
Finally, the products are then dried for several weeks, the whole procession can take about 6 – 10 weeks for each batch of products.
The Unique Taste
The taste of Spanish Chorizo can be described as strong and intense because it uses many different kinds of ingredients such as paprika, garlic, oregano, white wine.
It is not a single strong spice that gives the taste to Spanish Chorizo. But rather, it’s about the balance and harmony that all of these seasonings come together. They form into a unique flavor that is hard to replace with anything.
Although the ingredient is quite complicated, Spanish Chorizo is also surprisingly flexible with its taste. It can be sweet but can also be spicy and salty, and the signature smoky fragrant just further enriches the already remarkable flavor.
Types Of Spanish Chorizo
Even in their own home country, Chorizos can also be diverse, while they still maintain the spirit of Spanish Chorizo but depending on each region people will have some modifications.
Perhaps the best of Spanish Chorizos, from the Iberico region, made from Iberican pork, all of their qualities are one step higher than regular Chorizo.
The famous black Iberican pigs also known as the “Pata Negra” are the main star of this amazing Chorizo type. Their meat contains a higher level of fat than many other pigs, the tenderness of the porks they produce is incomparable to any regular pigs.
Furthermore, the acorn diet gives them a very particular flavor that you can’t find anywhere else. Spanish people can even confidently claim that Iberian pork is the richest pork in terms of flavor and taste. (2)
Now, all of those qualities will be thoroughly transferred into the Chorizo Iberico, making them more flavorful, juicier, and very distinctive from other types of Chorizo.
Chorizo Iberico Bellota
Another product from the Iberican pigs, this time it’s a type of Chorizo made from Iberican pork ham, the finest ham in the world. It is also the most expensive ham as just one leg weighing between 13 to 17 pounds can cost you about 4,500 USD. (3)
Only the premium meat can be selected to make the best Chorizo Iberico bellota, soaked with high-grade spices and special herbs.
The already marvelous Iberian pork is now even further enriching making them become one in a lifetime luxury meal for anyone.
Simple ways to enjoy the most expensive dish you ever have.
A fully cured and dried Chorizo that comes from the Salamanca and Cantimpalo region of Spain.
Fresh white and fatty pork meat seasoned with various spices and paprika will undergo a specific drying and marinating process to become the Chorizo cantimpalo.
When done, Chorizo cantimpalo will have a red or orange color like sausages. It is very juicy and easy to eat, not that much spicy compared to most other Spanish Chorizos.
Chorizo Cantimpalo is the type that you usually cut into slices and serve with bread or cheese.
One of the most common foods in Riojano, an area that holds great tradition in making sausages. The Chorizo Riojano usually comes in the shape of a horseshoe and has a diameter of 30-40mm.
Firm and compact are the nature of this Chorizo, with both the spicy pimenton and the sweet dulce (a kind of sweet drink) as seasonings.
The flavor is very balanced between the ingredients, yet it has an intense aroma enough to overthrow the usual taste of paprika.
Being one of the first to receive the famous dish from Spain, Mexico quickly adapted and improvised to make itself unique with its own standard. That’s why among the most notable foods from Mexico, chorizo is widely beloved by the natives there.
Thus, Mexico has developed several variants for its Chorizo, as shown here.
|Red Chorizo||Pork, pork fat, can be various with other kinds of meats, chili pepper.||Spicy, strong, and hot|
|Chorizo Verde||Pork, green pepper, green tomato.||Spicy, flavorful|
|Chorizo Seco||Heritage pork, sea salt, paprika, garlic||Balance, mild|
How They Made
Fresh and raw are the main points when it comes to Mexican Chorizo. The products are mostly raw and soft, making them versatile to go with other foods.
Much like the Spanish cousin, Mexican Chorizo is also mainly made from pork and pork fat but sometimes they can be beef, chicken, venison, or even soy for vegetarians.
Due to the differences in environment and geography, Mexican Chorizo uses chili pepper as an alternative for paprika, and combines it with vinegar in place of white wine. Their bright or dark red color is also from the chili pepper.
For Mexican Chorizo the process is rather straightforward, pork will be ground instead of chopped like the Spanish original, mixed with other spices including chili pepper, vinegar. This is also the most important change of Mexican Chorizo.
After that, they will be stuffed into a casing, then tied up with lace and that will be it. You must remember to remove the casing whenever you want to cook, they are not edible.
Most of the time they are left uncooked and uncured, although there are some exceptions but only a few of them. If you plan on buying Mexican Chorizo, learn how to gauge Chorizo’s doneness, as you’ll need to cook the sausage. This can be quite a challenging task for beginners.
The Taste Of Freshness
Mexican Chorizo is normally much spicier than most other types due to the heavy use of chili pepper, and it doesn’t have the smoky flavor like that of Spanish Chorizo.
Although both Mexican and Spanish Chorizo have an intense flavor from the rich seasoning, Mexican Chorizo is a little different, it’s more likely to hit you as soon as you take the first bite.
You will feel the fatty pork fat melting in your mouth, a warm and rich flavor spreading from the chili pepper, then the tangy vinegar slowly follows after.
Due to the nature of fresh ground meat, it tends to get loose right after being let out of the casing. But thanks to that, it makes this meat easier to process and mix with other types of foods.
Spicy and powerful, that’s what you get when trying this Chorizo.
Types Of Mexican Chorizo
The Mexican Chorizo has some basic main types of its own, based on the types of ingredient used with it.
Or fresh Chorizo, the classic type that you can see anywhere in Mexico, is always made from firm parts of the meat like shoulder, leg, thigh. What makes this Chorizo special is the finely grounded meat combined with the strong Mexican seasonings.
People use different types of meat aside from pork for this Chorizo, making it even more diverse. The crushed red pepper gives this type a vivid red color.
Hot and spicy just like most of the Mexican favorite foods, they are the perfect addition to your Mexican-inspired breakfast foods, lunch, or dinner.
Also known as green Chorizo is another fresh type of Chorizo from Mexico. Ground pork is mixed with green pepper, tomate verde (or green tomato) which is native to Mexico, resulting in their emerald green color.
It is less common compared to the red variant and usually can only be found in Mexico and hardly any other country. Spicy and flavorful, Chorizo verde is great to enjoy with tacos or make stews with an unforgettable flavor.
Also a less common version in Mexico. Somewhat similar to Spanish Chorizo, adding some more spice, you can consider this is the Spanish equivalent of Mexican Chorizo.
Chorizo seco is a slowly dry-cured Chorizo type just like that of Spain, using classical pork, natural dried sea salt, mild paprika, and garlic.
This Chorizo has the perfect balance of both Spanish and Mexican flavors within it, strong but not overpowering. You can enjoy it with bread or on its own.
Other Types Of Chorizo Around The World
Since the Spanish have brought Chorizos with them all over the world, it is not surprising that many other countries have also adapted and made their own distinguished Chorizos.
|Argentina Chorizo||Pork, oregano, thyme, paprika||Various but should be flavorful|
|Colombian Chorizo||Pork, green onion, garlic, vinegar||Balance and gentle|
|British Chorizo||Pork, salt, black pepper, garlic||Salty, quite similar to Spanish Chorizo but lighter|
|Portuguese Chorizo||Pork, paprika, garlic, cinnamon||Heavy, spicier than Spanish Chorizo|
Since Argentina has a large population that is Italian descendants, these Chorizos are pretty much influenced by Italian cuisine and methods.
The Chorizos of Argentine gastronomy are filled with a variety of herbs and flavors like oregano, thyme, and parsley. Moreover, many households in Argentina have their own unique recipes and methods of making Chorizo.
So the number of Chorizo in Argentina is very various, for nearly every place you go will give you a different taste and experience.
You can see this video to know more:
A popular recipe from Colombia, this variation of chorizo is a type of fresh Chorizo but this is just common sense around South America. They are probably the mildest ones since they’re not spicy like Mexican ones or use as much paprika as Spanish.
The taste of Colombian Chorizo is rather balanced and gentle, the ingredients can diverge between different regions. But most of the recipes for this signature Colombian dish all use green onion, cilantro, garlic, accompanied by vinegar as part of their flavor.
The most common type of Chorizo in Britain is called Sarta, made from British pork, salt, black pepper, and garlic. They have a horseshoe shape, are fully cured, and can be eaten at any time, or you can use them as an ingredient for cooking.
Another variant of British Chorizo is Ristra, a semi-cured type of Chorizo, although not as popular as Sarta they are still a great choice.
Need to be cooked before consuming but the texture is very soft and they have a gentler flavor compared to the fully cured Sarta.
This delectable recipe from Portuguese cuisine is not entirely Chorizo but rather a substitute, often called Chourico. They look the same as Chorizo, even have the same seasoning as paprika and garlic.
But they do have some differences, as the seasonings they use include some parts that are not Spanish and more from their own recipes, like cinnamon. Their taste is heavier than Spanish Chorizo because of more spices, and also spicier.
Now that you have a whole list of Chorizo to look at, but if you still have some questions about them, here is some further information for you:
A Dish To Brighten Your Day
After a day of working tiredly, a hot, juicy, and flavorful meal is what you need to relieve, Chorizo will be there for you. Or when you want to throw a party and want something special to surprise your friends, they will meet your demands perfectly.
Be it a snack or a full meal, for whatever occasion, Chorizo can satisfy every one of them due to the flexibility and diversity in their flavor.
For this delightful food to spread even further, please don’t hesitate to share the information in this article with your friends, family, or anyone. So they can all enjoy the tasty and joyfulness of Chorizo.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Chorizo – Wikipedia.
- Finefoodspecialist.co.uk. 2022. What makes Iberico pork so special?.
- Insider. 2022. Why Spanish Iberian ham is the world’s most expensive cured meat.