Chorizo: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joined Jan 10, 2010
Yesterday I bought some chorizo sausage for the first time.  From the package information it was Mexican style.  I believe there's a Spanish style, and maybe some other types as well.  Since I bought the sausage to pill a dog, I didn't care much about taste or quality.  Actually, I bought it because it was the cheapest sausage in the meat case.

However, I did fry up a small piece just to give it a taste.  It was incredibly greasy - there was a big puddle of grease in the skillet - and that allowed the meat, such as it was, to crisp up nicely.  But there's more to sausage than crispy meat.

So, what should this chorizo novice look for in good chorizo?  Is it usually so greasy?  What meats and spices would be considered for a good quality, traditional chorizo?  What are the differences between Mexican, Spanish, and other types of chorizo?

Joined Feb 13, 2008
Spanish chorizo is cured, hard sausage -- a lot like pepperoni.  Mexican chorizo is loose, fresh sausage. 

Yes, it is and should be extremely fatty/greasy.  You control it by draining it to whatever degree you desire after cooking the fat out. 

What should you look for?  A lot of cuts that would gross out "ordinary" North Americans like lips, spleens and all that good stuff.  Also heart-burn.  And atherosclerosis.  If you can't hear your arteries close audibly -- it's not good chorizo.



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Mexican style is well known for pairing with eggs for breakfast. I'd think you could do a good home fry/hash brown with chorizo. I guess that makes it a hash but....

I like to use it start my chili. Good flavor base, lots of color and the rendered grease does the job on the vegies when they get added.

I need mexican chorizon thinned out with plenty of other filler (added vegies, rice, beans) or it disagrees with me.
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Joined Feb 4, 2010
The different types of chorizos are simply spiced differently to acceptable flavor for locals. In general sausages and salamis have about 30% fat. Cheap ones can be much higher, even 50%. Buying cheap sausage is always a bad deal (same with bacon). More expensive ones are more economical than cheap ones. If packaged, read the label and figure out the percentage of fat per serving. Try not to go much over 30%.
Joined Jan 1, 2010
Mexican style is well known for pairing with eggs for breakfast. I'd think you could do a good home fry/hash brown with chorizo. I guess that makes it a hash but....
My absolute favorite chorizo application is fried up with grated/shredded potatoes, some peppers (anaheim and jalapeno are good, but I'm pretty sure that no matter what you use it would turn out more-than-OK) and some over-easy eggs, all wrapped up in a tortilla with some salsa.  This breakfast burrito is by FAR the best way to start a long day - or to finish a long night!
Joined Nov 6, 2004
       Hi Schmoozer /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

   Yes, Mexican chorizo sure is greasy.  I would have to second (or third) the comment that Mexican chorizo goes well with breakfast.  Eggs, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs & chorizo in a tortilla with whatever toppings you like.  Yum yum!

   For Mexican chorizo your deli may make a good chorizo too.  You're always going to have grease, with Mexican chorizo, but one of my deli's does have better meat...and seasoning than the two other brands that are pre-made in the store.  You should give your grocery stores a check and see if they make it fresh too.

   Spanish chorizo (as stated above) is indeed an entirely different thing.  The Palacios chorizo is a hard, dry cured chorizo...this goes well in rice dishes.  I've also had a nice slicing chorizo, Cantimpalo style chorizo.  This was more like a traditional deli type meat, on the lines of salami (but different).  It's nice to just eat alone, on a sandwich or with a charcuterie plate.  

   Anyway you slice it...or cook it, you're sure to enjoy!

    yummy pimenton /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif


Joined Feb 1, 2007
Spanish chorizo also comes in two basic styles: hot and not. The hot will carry the word "picante" on the label.

There's also a Portugese variation. It's also a dry, cured sasage, similar to the Spanish, but with different herbs/spices. I've no idea how it's really spelled, but they pronounce it "chareeze."
Joined Jun 20, 2013
As others have described most chorizo is going to be greasy but can easily be drained after cooking, leave a little grease to cook with eggs.

The thing to look for in a chorizo is that it's meaty instead of mealy after cooking. I mean some chorizo adds so much cereal that it's nothing but grease when you've finished cooking it. In the area I live a butcher in a nearby town has some of the best chorizo that I've ever had. It's meaty! The downside to that one though is the're hardly any seasonings. Chorizo has a very "spicy flavor" not necessarily hot just flavorful. In addition, due to the vinegar that is added to cure it will also have a slightly tangy flavor.     
Joined Apr 8, 2013
My question is this: I tend to treat Spanish style Chorizo(cured, not fresh) the same way I cook bacon. Which is placed in a cold pan and then gradually heated and crisped over a period of time. I would like to add it to pasta dishes, but I have a problem with too much grease once worked into the pasta. I do strain it on a paper towel after it's cooked, but I would like to use it in spaghetti dishes(with just basil and parm, not sauce).

Anyone know of a solution for this?
Joined Mar 19, 2009
Lucas: you can always boil the pierced chorizo first. Grease wil float. Also the punch of course.
Joined Dec 22, 2020
Wait schmoozer... you bought chorizo in order to give your dog a pill? I don't know if dogs enjoy spicy food. This reminds me of a time when I gave our dog a treat - bacon grease poured over her dry food. She loved it. She ate it so quickly.
The problem occurred about 20 minutes after she ate. The greasy dog food made a second appearance, if you know what I mean. I learned my lesson that day after she threw up all over me.
(Sorry about posting this terrible story.)
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