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Nov 6, 2006 12:07 AM

Chorizo crawl - Pork salivary glands, lymph nodes & fat (cheeks)

This is probably the scariest thing I’ve eaten in my life.

I’ve been doing a little crawl of local SF Bay Area Mexican markets and eating some wonderful chorizo. So I figured I’d wrap things up and try a commercial brand for comparison - El Mexicano

I pick up a 12 oz plastic package for $1.49. I don’t read the ingredient list till I get home ...

Pork salivary glands, lymph nodes & fat (cheeks), paprika, soy flour, vinegar, salt, spices red pepper, garlic, sodium nitrate.

I’m still game ... after all who knows what’s in most hot dogs, this is no different.

There are instructions on the package to remove the casing before cooking ... well, ok, but I’ve been cooking most of the chorizo from the butcher shops with casing.

No ... you MUST remove the casing ... it is plastic.

The red chorizo squooshed out. It was soft like pate or a soft liverwurst. There were long stringy pieces in it ... lymph nodes perhaps?

So I cook it up and it releases quite a bit of thin plasma-red liquid. After reading the ingredient list and looking at this soft mess ... like an idiot I taste it.

Man ... I think they left the saliva in the glands it had that awful, soft sliminess to it.

I figure maybe if I reduce it and cook it down it can be salvaged ... no it gets softer and more unctuous ... ick, ick, ick, ick, ick.

I really can’t tell you what it tastes like other than saliva with spices because the gag factor kept coming in play. Really, put this stuff on Fear Factor.

This is NOT chorizo. And if you have ever been unfortunate enough to buy it ... it is NOT chorizo. Go to a good Mexican carneceria and get some good chorizo. The worst chorizo I tried was so superior to this ... it was edible.

5 servings per container 210 calories each calories from fat 160 ... yeah, that’s calories I’ll never consume.

Who eats this stuff?

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  1. Answer: Working class folks and restaurant buyers who aren't picky and who only want cheap.

    Don't say we didn't warn you! The questionable qualities of commercially made (in California) 'Mexican style' chorizo have been discussed here
    and around the L.A. board
    fairly often.
    I've found that the 'no name' chorizo obtained from markets catering to Mexicans usually contains those nodule thingies but they aren't tough like that grissle in commercial brands.
    If you have to go commercial, buy Mexican longaniza which is less fatty, doesn't seem to contain the above 'parts' and is, of course, more expensive.
    I usually make it myself from ground pork and spices, pretty darn simple.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiveFan

      Yeah, it was hard to find it in a Mexican market. I went to three before I could find the El Mexicano chorizo and the sad thing is there is actually a butcher shop in back of that store with a decent chroizo.

      I guess the price was about half of the butcher shop $3 for 12 oz instead of $1.50 ... but good grief the stuff is really inedible. Out of the aproximately 15 no name chorizo's I tried only two could be identifiable as perhaps organ meat by the taste ... but that was more liverwurst like.

      I just was curious to see how the big name brand compared to the little guys ... little guys definately slew the giant in terms of product.

      I did try two no-name longaniza, but it is kind of a different sausage more solid. Like the chroizo they were wildly different.

    2. Sorry to say but sausage is one of the ways to to use "all of the animal", regardless of culture. I mean, don't even ask about what's in a hot dog and have you ever heard of blood sausage? As mentioned, it's peasant food.

      Any way, if it halps Niman Ranch is now offering chorizo.

      I thought about buying NR chorizo but I figured it would be relatively bland, probably a bit dry and lacking any depth. It would however be made of safe meat bits from humanely grown animals. NR makes quality products but for sausage you need fat and they shy away from it. They also seem to prescribe to the "pulverize it like a hot dog slurry" school of texture for most of their sausages.

      BTW, there are a few Mexican markets that make it themselves. Mi Rancho or one of the places near University and San Pablo did at one point but not sure any longer. Speaking Spanish at those places seems to help, although I've been able to order from the butcher w/o it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ML8000

        Thanks, as I said in reponse to DiveFan it was just to see how the 15 chorizos I've tried at the East Bay Mexican markets stacked against a big name brand. I also did a comparison to an upscale chroizo by Hobbs.

        That was a lovely sausage but I suspect that like NR it is Spanish and not Mexican chorizo.

        Up until the Hobbs chorizo I was under the impression that the Spanish version was dried, but I guess there are fresh versions too. It is solid like a sausage rather than crumbly like Mexican chorizo. A Spanish chorizo could be thrown on the BBQ ... a Mexican chorizo could not.

        I have no problem with what is in sausage as long as it doesn't taste close to the original ingrediant. If I was chewing on little piece of pigs ear in a hot dog It would bother me. But honest to heavens this had the taste and mouth feel of what I would imagine saliva glands or lymph nodes would taste like ...
        think a mouthfeel like partly pureed ground up raw oysters mixed with raw eggs ... oh gee, why did I have to think of that again ... ick, ick, ick, ick, ick ... gag.

      2. Yikes, makes me grateful for the meat vendors at the farmer's markets with their versions of chorizo!

        That stuff you bought sounds offal, simply offal. (sorry, couldn't resist)

        1. I had the same experience with the cheap stuff you buy at the grocery store - totally disgusting. The look and smell of it turned my stomach - and NO, after that I did not taste it.

          I've been looking at recipes for making my own chorizo and that's the direction I'll go in next time

          1. I'm posting from Pátzcuaro, México. Almost every carnicería here makes its own chorizo. Unfortunately, they all seem to me to have varying strengths of aromas and tastes of meat scraps that should have been fed to the dog, or better, thrown away. Dios mío, they *give* the stuff away in generous chunks when you buy other meat. what does that tell you?

            The best chorizo here is a commercial brand, Capistrano or San Rafael. It is available in the salchiconería of the supermercado. It tastes good and smells good. It's better after it has hung over a rack and concentrated the flavor by drying a little.
            Chorizos hanging out in Morelia:

            2 Replies
            1. re: Anonimo

              Thanks for the info about the chorizo situation in your area of Mexico. Nice picture. Usually here they don't tie the links, it is one long coil. Here's the chrorizo situtation in a section in the SF Bay Area.

              Anonimo, I see you respond to questions on the Mexico board. It would be wonderful if you would post about some of the places in your town or restaurants you visit.

              Too often the International Boards are tourist requests. I know it is sometimes hard to post when no one will probably respond. However, more people read than respond. I know anyone looking for info in Mexico would find your posts about someone who lives in the area so useful.

              1. re: rworange

                Hola, rworange, I'm a new kid on the block here, and when I can think of a worthwhile topic, I'll post it. Thanks for the encouragement. Meanwhile, you might want to look at my Mexico photos, which you'll find in sub-galleries here:

                I also have a Mexican food blog, to which I post intermittently and sometimes tardily, at: