As an avid fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, Mexican chorizo is one of the most used sausages in my kitchen, which is why it’s surprising that it’s taken me this long to make it myself at home.

Referring to chorizo alone can be a cause for confusion; different countries produce very distinct varieties of chorizo. The two main types you’re likely to come across are Spanish and Mexican. While Spanish chorizo is a dried pork sausage seasoned heavily with either hot or sweet paprika, the Mexican version is a fresh pork sausage seasoned with ground chilies and often complemented with additional herbs and spices, like oregano, cinnamon, and cumin, among others. There’s also a green variety that can be found in Mexico, but more on that in a couple weeks.

Many Mexican chorizo recipes will include a mix of paprika and ground chilies, but I like mine on the hotter side, so this one skips the mild paprika and goes all in with a ton of ancho chile powder—a medium-spicy powder made of dried poblano chilies. To that, I added salt, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, cloves, and cider vinegar.

This mixture had the power to stain everything it came into contact with a messy dark red, but that immense amount of seasoning also made it wildly delicious—juicy and spicy with an earthy quality that ensured every single bite was a powerhouse of flavor.

Though I did stuff this chorizo into casings and grill them, my most common uses—in tacos, quesadillas, stuffed peppers—serve it loose, so don’t let the stuffing or grilling part be a barrier between you and this awesome homemade sausage.

Recipe

  • YIELD:Makes 3 pounds
  • ACTIVE TIME:1 hour
  • TOTAL TIME:1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cubed
  • 1/2 pound pork fat back, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar, chilled
  • Natural hog casings, soaked in lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed
  • Type of fire: Direct
  • Grill heat: medium-high

Directions

  1. Place pork and fat in a large bowl. Add in chile powder, salt, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, and cloves. Toss to coat meat with seasonings. Place in refrigerator until ready to grind.

  2. Grind mixture through the small die of a meat grinder into a bowl set in ice.

  3. Using paddle attachment of a stand mixer, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Pour in vinegar, increase the speed to medium, and mix until liquid is incorporated an sausage has a uniform consistancy, about 1 minute more. Chill until ready to stuff.

  4. Form a small patty of the sausage and sauté until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

  5. Stuff sausage into hog casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate until ready to cook, or freeze for future use.

  6. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill over medium-high direct heat until sausage registers 160 degrees when an instant read thermometer is inserted in middle of link. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve.

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