Chorizo so fatty, the whole thing rendered to liquid.
I don't expect my chorizo to be diet food by any means, but this turned to grease soup when I cooked it. I fished out as many of the solids as I could and mixed them into my scrambled eggs, but I still have half a tube of the stuff left, and don't have a clue what to do with it. Any ideas? Anyone with similar experiences? Anyone have tips on how to select chorizo that doesn't turn to soup? I suppose the $0.89 price tag should have tipped me off.
A young Mexican woman told me her mother always cooked the chorizo until it was crunchy bits. And yes, there are various levels of fat based upon price, as you discovered. So I would basically render out the meat into crispy bits and use them as you would bits of bacon. Some might use the grease, but anything but a little is just too heavy for me.
Um, here's the ingredients
Chorizo crawl - Pork salivary glands, lymph nodes & fat (cheeks)
In that post I wrote ":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."
RULES FOR CHORIZO
1. If possible do NOT buy packaged stuff. If you do, read the ingredients first. There are some quality brands, but they are in the minority ... El Mexicano is not one of them
2. Buy from a Mexican market or butchers case. This takes some experimenting, but you can buy small pieces. Ask Chowhounds on your regional board for the best chorizo to buy. Here's the result of my local chorizo crawl from a few years ago in th SF Bay Area where I tried 23 chorizos from 16 different markets
3. Chorizo is SLOW food
Cook it on the lowest heat possible and be patient. It retains the fat rather than pooling it all in the pan
If you want some salivary glands without all that orange coloring, buy a pack of pork tongues from 99Ranch. At the base of each tongue is a pair of fatty glandular tissue. I trim it off after cooking the tongues. I usually saved them for the dog, though they aren't bad eating - just not as nice as the tongue itself.
El Mexicano! That's the one! Mmm, salivary glands. Mine wasn't quite as bad as what you described with the stringy bits and the saliva taste. But I got the beef chorizo, so maybe that made a difference (although I don't know why cow salivary glands and lymph nodes would taste so much better than those from a pig).
I actually just cooked the rest of it into some lentils (drained off a bit of the fat, first) and it turned out delicious. Not something I would buy again, and not something I would use the way I usually use chorizo, but not the disaster I first thought when I put it in the pan and it melted into salivary gland sludge.
The only commercial one I buy is Hormel. I tend to make my own, as it is so easy and I can control the flavor and the fat content, as well as the grind. I use the recipe from Kutas' Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. I use twice the spice he recommends, though, I usually use meat from the "almost expired" section, but no offal. When we are in Mexico, I tend to buy the store brand, often not in casings, behind the meat counter.
I've bought the store brand from Vallarta Supermarket a number of times and it's been great. This was a packaged one, though, from the Mexican market down the street from my house. They sometimes blow things out, so I guess I hoped that the price was just because of a crazy sale and not an indication of quality. Clearly, I was wrong.
I'll take a look around for the Kutas recipe. I don't live near a Vallarta anymore, and it would be nice to have a reliable source of good chorizo.
Most commercial brands of Mexican style chorizo NOB are Terrible, as we noted in an earlier classic topic. Salivary Glands and Lymph Nodes first on the ingredient list are the tipoff. Always stay away from these!
The only commercial brand I use in a pinch is Farmer Johns Premium. Since Hormel screwed them up, er, bought them they came out with a 'Tradicional' style - half the price with the usual SG and LN. Crrrrraaaappppp!
One possibility in some Latino markets is labeled 'longaniza'. This is a slightly aged / dried version of their fresh chorizo. Not to be confused with Portuguese & Spanish style products with a similar name.
Most of the time I make my own from finely ground pork, here's the recipe:
Use whatever pure, fresh ground chile powders you can get. No Gebhardts, etc.
Sadly, all of the following:
- Non Mexicans without a clue
- Mostly poor immigrants who just want Cheap
- Mexican Americans who grew up with it!!
The story of most Mexican style products in California is similar. An immigrant family 60 years ago started a business making X with the cheapest, simplest ingredient list and everyone else copied them. Only recently has there been visible differentiation, usually based on regions (Yucatecan, Oaxacan, etc).
There are of course many grades of chorizo, and even the el-cheapo has its purpose. The crispy bits are good in quesadillas and queso fundito, as a hot dog topping, etc. I strain and keep the fat in the freezer. It may look like transmission fluid, but it perks up refried beans and frijoles charros. Better grades of chorizo, especially spanish, stay very much intact, like andouille sausage.
What are the ingredients? A common cheap style lists salivary glands near the start.
A whole range of products are called chorizo, from this cheep Mexican style to $10+/lb dry Spanish chorizo. Some groceries grind pork and season it 'chorizo style' (price should be comparable to ground beef). Most Mexican butchers (carnicerias) have their own version, and may even proudly offer you sample.
Here is the recipe I use. Based on Kutas as I noted above. He dries it, more like a Spanish chorizo. I do not put it in casings, but I package it by the half pound and freeze it in packages shrunken via my Foodsaver.
4 Tb. salt
1 cup white vinegar (sometimes cider)
5 Tb. paprika (smoked is great)
3 Tb. hot ground chile (more or less to taste. I like Ancho)
3 Tb. fresh garlic
1 Tb. oregano
2 tsp. black coarse pepper
1 cup water
5 lbs. boned pork butts
(You can use beef, too, just be sure it is not too lean. You may want more garlic and oregano or maybe some onion powder if you do beef. I do not use any innards of any kind and pig cheeks are not affordable most of the time here, although I hear that they are fantastic for tacos and in chorizo. I generally get the butts on sale -- boneless are less work, but a bit more expensive.)
Grind all the pork butts through a 1/4" (6mm) grinding plate and place in a mixing tub or large bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well until all the spices are evenly distributed. Fry a little piece and taste it. It will get more flavor over time, but it won't get much hotter. Add more ground chile or other spice if you want.
Put it in the fridge for a couple of days in a sealed container, then freeze.
As others have noted, Mexican chorizo is fresh and Spanish chorizo is dried. There also is Louisiana style chaurice, which is fresh and has a spice profile similar to Mexican chorizo. But that supermarket stuff in plastic tubes is disgusting. I've eaten a lot of street food in Mexico, but never came across chorizo made from salivary glands. On the other hand, chorizo from the carnicieras here in SF is pretty good. If you don't have a carniciera nearby, do like wyogal and add some spices (and some vinegar) to breakfast sausage, or fresh Italian sausage.