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Portuguese Linguica vs Spanish Chorizo

What might be the defining differences between these two Old World pork products?

(note: not discussing Mexican chorizo)

Familiar with Portuguese linguisa sausage, but not the Spanish product.

Can you illuminate?


edit: I did find this:http://www.tienda.com/reference/chori...

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  1. The linguica I have had in Massachusetts (along the coast, lots of Portugese people) has had a distinct anise flavor and the chunks of pork have been large. Chorizo, on the other hand, is more garlicky and peppery and is red inside, which linguica is not.

    1. depends on what it is used for, although Portugese dishes are heavily made with seafood, i find the coarseness of linguica lends itself well to more rustic dishes where as the chorizo i use in things like paella, i know i'll get a lot of flack for that one but it is my preference.

      4 Replies
      1. re: breadfan

        where do you get Spanish Chorizo? is it domestic or imported? While I can get lots of Mexican chorizo, I've never seen Spanish chorizo here in California.

        1. re: toodie jane

          The only local Spanish chorizo 'supplier' I've seen is La Espanola. IIRC they make some and import some. See website in the link for online ordering.

          La Espanola Meats
          25020 Doble Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90710

          1. re: toodie jane

            Hobb's makes Spanish chorizo. Spanish Table in Berkeley or Marin has Spanish chorizo which can also be ordered on-line.

            There are a few other places in the SF Bay Area.

            1. re: toodie jane

              In addition to the Spanish Table and Hobb's, the Fatted Calf also makes Spanish-style chorizo AND linguica.

          2. I cook with both linguica and chourico (which is also portuguese). In my family, the linguica can be eaten plain (fried or grilled) or added to a dish. The chourico (hotter and spicier) is always added to a dish

            9 Replies
            1. re: NE_Elaine

              I generally use courico when chorizo is called for, since it is just easier to find in Toronto, and, IMHO, quite similar.

              I recall having trouble finding any brand of Mexican chorizo in Dallas that was not made from the salivafry glands of pigs.

              1. re: ekammin

                Well, Mexican chorizo is an entirely different beast from either linguica or Spanish chorizo: I've only ever seen Mexican chorizo for sale in its raw form, whereas the others are cured and smoked.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Fascinating discussion....Barmy, you say you've only seen Mexican chorizo in the raw form...here in SW Florida, supermarkets sell both the raw Mexican chorizo and the smoked, cured form which is very much like pepperoni in texture.

                  1. re: Val

                    Well, I should clarify that: in my native lands (Texas and New Mexico), I only ever saw Mexican chorizo, which was always sold raw. Where I live now (Boston, a city with a large Portuguese and Brazilian population but a relatively small Mexican population), Portuguese linguica and chourico, both of which are cured and smoked, are available at any supermarket, while Mexican chorizo is far, far more difficult to come by. I'm sure someone somewhere has it, but I've never made a point of tracking it down, largely because it turns out I prefer linguica and chourico!

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      You can buy killer Spanish Chorizo from the Boston Sauseage Co. (The Smokehouse) @ Savenor's or in Norwell.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Yes, but what I'm saying is that Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo aren't the same thing!

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          Yes, I know that. I was only mentioning that if you are looking for the former, the Smokehouse product is superior.

                          I recall seeing the latter at Hi Lo but that was maybe 10 years ago.

                2. re: ekammin

                  Have you tried buying Mexican chorizo at meat counters of Mexican markets? It is almost always made in-house and unlike the large brands rarely contains things like salivery glands.

                3. re: NE_Elaine

                  Elaine,I agree with you.One thing I would like to add is that linguica is more coarse as posters here have said.I have a question for you.I am trying to duplicate the red marinade sauce that is used for marinated pork bits.I know you can use the butt or the shoulder of the pig.I use to buy the blade meat from Furtado's in Fall River but I am no longer in business.I know a lot of the old school cooks use this all the time and many restaurants in Eastern Mass.have this on the menu.Any help you could give me would be appreciated. Robert

                4. It is my understanding that what we identify as Chorizo [Spain] originated in the province of Extramadura. This state - whose many sons went off to become conquerers of the New World had a pretty big reputation for the consumption of pork. It is interesting to note that it straddles the southeastern border with Portugual so there may be a connection.

                  In my experience, the linguica I have had has been much more coarser ground then chorizo and it neccisitates cooking. There are also chorizo variants depending on its cure, ingredients, casing, and region of origin.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kare_raisu

                    A brand that places like La Tienda and Spanish Table carry is Palacios. I've found it a couple of 'high end' groceries in the Seattle area. It's fully cured, quite dry and shelf stable, rather like a small diameter paprika flavored dry salami.

                    'The New Spanish Table' recommends Goya as a readily available substitute for cooked, semi-cured salami in its recipes.


                    1. re: paulj

                      I think palacios is the best I have had. I find the Framani is good just for eating.

                      On a side note, at a Paella event cooked by Chef Maggie Pond of Bar Cesar in Berkeley & Oakland I had a chance to interview her. One of my questions was what is her favorite brand....palacios.

                      Have you had choristilla - believe its lamb casing enclosed.

                      Goya seems harder to track down than Palacios. I have only seen it a Puerto Rican Market in the Northbay.

                      Culinaria Spain is a great book to pick up if you're interested in Spanish cooking culture. I picked up one at Borders for only 10 dollars.

                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        I regularly check Half Price Books for interesting books like this Culinaria and other European cookbooks at clearance prices. They even hard bound copies of The New Spanish Table at $12. I'm starting build a collection of Hermes House (HH) picture cookbooks.

                  2. There are many different variations of chouriço here in Portugal. Linguiça is what brazilians call chouriço(a). Spanish chorizo is usually a bit spicier and thinner. Chouriças in Portugal are made with lots of wine and garlic whereas chorizo has more paprika.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: magool27

                      Chorizo will be very different depending on what country it's representing as well. The mexican stuff tends to be heavily spiced and crumbly inside. Go South a bit, say to Colombia, and the chorizo has a more solid, hammy flavor with large chunks of pork fat interspersed. I like it both ways, but I'd say Mexican chorizo is better as a part of a dish while the South American variety can stand better on it's own, either grilled or pan fried.

                      1. re: johnmlinn

                        I live in Rhode Island with a large Portuguese influnce. Most of the Linguica and Chourico consumed here is made by Portuguese companies in Fall River, Mass. Linguica is sold mainly as links or patties in these parts and served at barbeques on hot dog buns and hamburger buns. Linguicia tends to be more firm and dry in texture compared to Chourico.


                        1. re: Sean

                          In RI you can get linguica or chorico on pizza. Nice alternative to sausage and pepperoni.

                    2. I can't speak on spanish chorizo but I know that the primary difference between linguica and chorico is that chorico has a coarser grind than linguica. Both linguica and chorico can be mild or spicy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: joth68

                        I've not had the pleasure of trying Spanish chorizo, but the California/Portuguese linguica I've had (handmade) has been rather chunky, not ground. Always with red wine included.

                      2. My grandmother is Portuguese so I've grown up on linguica. We've always had two varieties: Hot and Sweet.

                        Now, if I'm not mistaken, the HOT linguica was actually chorizo and the SWEET was linguica.

                        1. I am an Azorean Portuguese American and what I know about linguica vs chourico is based on a very old portuguese cookbook from my aunt's collection in portugal. Linguica is marinated with more red wine and less vinegar and smoked longer than portuguese chourico. Linguica was originally made with the small intestine and the chourico used the large so therefore linguica is thinner than chourico. There is hot chourico and mild chourico. As is usually the case with most recipes they vary from region to region and have an official DOC like french wine. I have to say, I've never heard of Star Anise in Linguica. My favorite linguica and chourico is Michael's brand available at portuguesefood.com but they also have a homemade version that I've not tried but looks good.

                          1. Linguica and Spanish chorizo are superficially similar in appearance - chorizo usually being a bit harder - but completely different in flavor. The dominant, and distinctive, flavor in chorizo is smoked paprika (pimenton) which is not used (or at least not evident) in linquica. Chourico (pronounced shor-EES) is typically larger in diameter than linguica, and in my experience is made up into shorter links, but otherwise is quite similar in overall flavor, but perhaps a bit more garlicky and robust overall.

                            1. I don't know much about linguica aside from the stuff you find in Portuguese communities in New England, but I have eaten chorizo in many parts of Spain. Chorizo doesn't refer to a single type or even a single style of sausage; there simply isn't any such thing as "Spanish Chorizo". Even within each region of Spain, there are quite different sausages all referred to as chorizo, or chourico, or chourizo, or xorico. Chourico is from Galicia, and the sausages referred to by that spelling are usually very similar to the linguica that is common in New England. Most chorizo types do rely more on paprika than most linguica, but this is far from universally true. The only real trends I think I noticed was that the dryer, hotter areas of Spain used more smoked paprika and produced a harder, spicier chorizo, the coastal areas produced a softer chorizo that was less spiced and used sweet paprika, and the wooded, mountainous areas produced both soft and hard chorizo that was often smoked.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: danieljdwyer

                                Yes, I'm aware that the term "chorizo" is equivalent to saying "sausage." I was referring to the chorizo that is commonly available here in New England (usually Palacios brand), or the chorizo that is typically served in Spanish restos on the East Coast, or that I've had in Puerto Rico, all of which is/was the harder sausage with strong pimenton flavor.

                              2. As others have noted there are many variations on linguica and chorizo, and some are ground coarse and some are ground fine. For me, the main difference is Spanish chorizo is a dry cured sausage and linguica is either cooked or hot smoked. There also are Mexican and other versions of chorizo that are not cured or smoked, but are sold uncooked.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Zeldog

                                  In the US (California?) linguica seems to be distinguished from chorizo, especially the Mexican style, by a mild vinegary character.

                                2. Is this topic dead? I grew up in Fall River, MA, which as the joke goes has the longest bridge in the world (Braga) which goes from Somerset to Portugal. I've had lots of local Portuguese Chorico. It is somewhat moist, chunky and spicy (hot but a mild hot). Linguica is basically Chorico without the hot spice. Now living in Maryland, I cannot find anything but what I assume is Mexican Chorizo, and have never tried it because it looks like a different dried product (and not so appealing).
                                  After eating too much Chorico, I may sometimes illuminate. ;)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: pnosko

                                    Funny -- last week I took the family to Pupatella, the superb pizza place in Arlington. One of the pizzas featured Chorizo. Being from RI, I immediately thought I'd be getting what we called "chaurice." As soon as the pie was placed in front of me I realized the topping was Mexican chorizo. Tasty, but not Gaspar's. 8<D

                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      Ha ha, "chaurice" or "shau-reese" is exactly how it's pronounced in Fall River. Have you tried it from Mello's?


                                      I see they have a chicken version that I will have to try, as I gave up 4-legged meats long ago and when I cheat every couple of years, I find it doesn't agree with me much anymore. But I do get a chourico pizza at Atlas every time I go to Fall River.

                                      1. re: pnosko

                                        Never tried Mello's -- the only brand I remember is Gaspar's. I have deep family roots in "Fau Rive" but have very little experience with the local cuisine. Never even had a pork pie!

                                        When I worked at a old-time market in Providence, there was a guy working behind the butcher counter who hand-made signs advertising specials on "chaurice" and "bresuit." LOL

                                  2. I have always found the linguica sold in Cape Cod towns or down along the Massachusetts coast around New Bedford (many people there have Portugese ancestry) to have a distinctive anise flavor that I have never tasted in chorizo.