The Hungry Dog’s La Bomba Chorizo Recipe
When I began to make sausage I had a goal to create a killer chorizo recipe. I love the spicy/sweet combination of flavors that a good chorizo has along with the satisfaction of eating it with eggs from my backyard chickens along with some cotija cheese and wrapped in a tortilla. That, my friends, is a breakfast worth working for. Whether you need a calorie boost to start your day or you simply want a nice, hearty breakfast before you sit back and read the Sunday Times – a good Mexican chorizo will meet your meaty needs.
Now, there are many styles and recipes for chorizo and you will not have a problem finding a decent one. However, there is a major difference in styles of chorizo. The European renditions of chorizo originating in Iberia are typically dried and used to flavor other dishes such as paella and stews or eaten sliced. They are also made with smoked paprika which gives the sausage a full-bodied, smoky, earthy flavor.
The chorizo recipe here is based on the Mexican rendition of the sausage. It uses dried chilis vs. paprika and is made in bulk form. It can be cased and cooked on the grill or even dried but the intent is to use this as loose, bulk sausage to be pan fried and served with other items such as eggs or papas fritas.
The following is a list of ingredients for a ten pound batch of Mexican Chorizo. I generally make this recipe in either five or ten pound quantities but thought it would be easiest if I gave you the latter in order for you to be able to do the math more simply for a smaller batch if you so choose to make one.
- 3.6 kg – Pork Shoulder/Butt preferred but you can use Picnic if necessary – trimmed of all sinew and connective tissue
- 910g – Pork Back Fat
- 500g – Dried Pasilla Peppers
- 100g – Dried Cascabel Peppers
- 180g – Dried Guajillo Peppers
- 120g – Kosher Salt
- 6g – Dried Thyme
- 7g – Dried Mexican Oregano
- 2g – Dried Marjoram
- 1g – Ground Clove
- 8g – Cumin Seed
- 10g – Ground Cinnamon
- 5g – Ground Black Pepper
- 2ea. Bay Leaves
- 1 1/3 cups – Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 cups – Water
* Note – if you’d prefer to case and dry cure this chorizo you can with the following ingredients:
- 15g #2 curing salt – added to chili paste
- 20g Bactoferm F-LC (available at Butcher and Packer) mixed with 60 ml of distilled water
- Blend in the bactoferm with the ground farce and case in 34-36mm hog casings
- Ferment at ~80 degrees and 80% humidity until ph levels drop to below 5.0 – measured with ph meter or strips
- Hang to dry for 2-3 weeks or until they have lost 30% of their dry weight
A Word on Chili Pepper Selection
The key to good chorizo, other than quality meat preferably from the shoulder or butt, is chili peppers. And I guarantee that you will find pepper variations in every single recipe for chorizo. There is no ‘one way’ to make this sausage and the choice of peppers is primarily based on personal preference and the recipe’s region of origin.
My recipe uses Pasilla, Guajillo and Cascabel peppers – all pictured below. My source – good Mexican markets. You can spend a bloody fortune on ‘gourmet’ peppers from places like Whole Foods but there’s really no need. Mexican markets often have terrific selections of peppers at affordable prices. My source in Seattle is Plaza Latina in Shoreline. They have dozens of pepper varieties and they are sold in 1 gallon Ziploc bags. Go.
I like sweet peppers that are more mild and have less heat. I also like raisiny, chocolately flavors in dried peppers. So, I typically go for those that are lower on the Scoville scale for heat – under 10,000 SHU. If you like heat then feel free to substitute or amend this recipe with hotter peppers. It’s all about personal preference.
Step 1 – Building the Spice Kit
Before I start anything I get my mise en place ready. This involves building my spice kit with all dried spices as well as liquids ready to add to the chili paste mixture. Having this ready at hand makes things easier when you are making the paste as you don’t want to be stopping/starting the food processor while hunting around for and weighing spices.
Step 2 – Making Your Paste
The most time-consuming aspect of making the chili paste is de-stemming and seeding all of your chilis. Go slow, take your time, and do this before beginning to process your chili paste.
It’s not essential that you get every last seed out of the chili hulls but you do need to remove all the stems. I try to tear/break up the chilis prior to processing to make it a bit easier for the paste to form.
Once you’ve added your peppers and spices, it’s time to add the liquid components of the recipe. I add the apple cider vinegar first and then scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Be careful to not get this mixture on your hands (or wear latex gloves) as it stains skin and clothing quite easily.
After the vinegar is added, pour in the water a cup at a time. You may not need the entire 4 cups as prescribed above. What you are looking for is texture here. You don’t want to end up with a watery paste that is difficult for the meat to absorb. Look for a chunky paste that sticks together well as shown below.
Step 3 – Prepping Your Meat
Once you’ve trimmed out the meat and cubed the backfat, mix in the paste and let marinate for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will allow the meat to absorb the flavors imparted by the paste and will bring an added richness to the final blended product.
Step 4 – The Grind
After the meat has marinated it’s time for the grind. I use a 10mm large plate for chorizo as I want a chunkier texture – not hamburger. I run this through the grinder one time and then I mix together well by hand to bind the fat and meat.
Step 5 – Eating Chorizo!
And there you have it. Once you are finished it’s time to cook a little reward for yourself. I generally make a small patty and sear it in a griddle at 350 degrees. I like to get a nice, crisp crust on the outside while leaving the meat tender in the middle. If you’ve done your job well, it’s a small piece of Mexican culinary heaven.
Try this base recipe to decide how you enjoy the taste, texture and flavor – then work with it. Alter it according to your tastes, desired heat levels and textural preferences. Feel free to make it all your own!