Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chorizo - Tasting Notes

The chorizo is ready! Well, it was ready last week, but I'm just getting around to writing about it now. This is the 1st one I've taken out. It's the one that was cased in an artificial round, 43mm casing. It lost about 43% of it's weight. I've left the others in the curing chamber to lose more weight. I think chorizo needs to be pretty hard. This one was a touch too soft really.

As you can see, the fat is nice and distinct. There is the correct amount of it, and it is well dispersed.

The flavor is good, but not great. It is a bit too strong on one or more of the flavorings. I'm still trying to work out which. I think it might be too much garlic, and possibly too much smoked paprika.

The black pepper is right. A friend of mine, who knows Spanish chorizo better than I do, says the black pepper is too prominent, and the garlic is correct. Maybe I'm just used to more Italian salami. Either way, I do like it, and would make it again, but reducing the garlic by about 20%, and maybe reducing the smoked paprika by about 15%, and replace that with a hot paprika. It does need some more heat, the cayenne wasn't enough.

The salt is correct, it's nice and

I'm looking forward to trying the ones that i've left in the curing chamber. I think they'll be nicer with some "heavier" chew to them, and with the added time in the chamber, maybe the overly strong notes will mellow out.

The mold as you can see did its job. The salame is nicely covered.

I would grade this a C+ for my tastes. Good, but needs work. Not that it's surprising. I've never made this before, and just took a number of recipes that sounded good, and mashed them together:)


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Anonymous said...

My wife bought a "Chorizo Blanco" and it was marvelous. Do you have any ideas of where to find a recipe?

Jasonmolinari said...

Frank, hrm. No idea. I've never even heard of it!
Can you describe it for me?

Anonymous said...

The chorizo blanco we had was manufactured by a firm in L A called La Espanola Meats. I learned from their website that it is made from chunks of pork loin and pork bellies (though they call it uncured bacon). They also advise that it is the same as "Chorizo Soria" except without the pimenton. They describe it as "like a sort of spicy, unsmoked ham" It is not highly spiced in my view. (I have no idea what they are talking about with the "spicy".) But, now I'm going to search for a chorizo soria recipe and maybe get something to use.

Jasonmolinari said...

Interesting...a chorizo without the smoked paprika. Sounds pretty good!

Unknown said...

The "Chorizo blanco" you are refering to is more commonly called butifarra, (or botifarra) and is most often consumed as a fresh sausage. If a pimentón-free Spanish sausage is dried down, it goes by a number of different names, governed by the casing diameter and length, the most famous being the Salchichon de Vic from the village of Vic in Catalunya. The DO versions may contain only salt, black pepper and pork.


p.s. I wrote the formulation and oversee the production of La Tienda's new proprietary cooking chorizo. We've only done 500# so far as samples, but I'll let you know when USDA label approval is complete and the real deal is available. Fermented, semi-dried and made from certified humane Berkshire pork. It's damn good!

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks for the explanation Erich.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

I am making this salami right now with wild boar stuffed in beef middles. I am using a combination of "red" spices -- pimenton, sweet paprika and Ethipian berbere (not traditional, I know, but good!) Crossing my fingers that it comes out without case hardening...

Jasonmolinari said...

Wild boar chorizo sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

Whats up jason? Ive got a batch of chorizo thats got case hardening. i was told by len poli to wrap em in a damp cloth for a week and then to re-dry in a more humid area. Any other suggestions? thanks bro!

Jasonmolinari said...

Seems lke it would be worth a try to wrap and then redry.

Any idea why other stuff hasn't case hardened and the chorizo has? Sounds like you should relook at your environment or you'll keep running into the issue.

Unknown said...

WOW!... Its interesting, That sounds good. Sure i'll try it.
Thanks for sharing...

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Grazor said...

Jason, this is a wonderful site. Only just came across it ; but reading like crazy this morning. Started curing bacon and making sausage late this year after reading and its delightful to find so many folks with the same passion.
I have made sausages and bacon thus far and a been making lots of lox; but have yet to do a cured sausage as I have been reticent thus far to use my basement and would prefer a sterile chamber.
So currently on the lookout for a cheap fridge and I have already purchased a Johnsons Control fridge thermometer. In the meantime however the amount of detailed info here and the responses to the various questions is most helpful.

Thank you so very much.


Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Grazor. I'm glad the information is helpful, and getting more people into this pretty awesome hobby!

Mamaliga said...

Jason - curious to know if you also have this not-so-pleasant smell in the curing chamber the first 3-4 days of putting the freshly made sausages to be cured.

I made Saucisson Sec from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book, and now it sits in my curing chamber (former chest freezer) at a steady 60F degrees and 65% humidity, but when I checked the chamber today I was met with this not-so-pleasant smell.

There's no fuzzy mold whatsoever on the surface of the saucisson, etc.
Does this sound normal to you?


Gabi @

Jasonmolinari said...

Hrm. No. Actually, i always found the smell to be quite nice in the curing chamber.

Mamaliga said...

Thanks Jason -

Hmm. Not the case at all for me. Not a good smell.

I would really appreciate your insight on this:

I followed very closely the Saucisson Sec recipe from the Charcuterie book, but after 2 weeks in the curing chamber I got fuzzy mold so I tossed the sausage.

The temperature in the curing chamber was 65 F. The humidity was a tad high (about 75%). Would you say that this was the problem?

Also - can it be that the hog casing got contaminated? Should I have left the sausage to dry a little before placing it in the curing chamber?

I remember you mentioning mold spray somewhere - should I use that to eliminate any fuzzy problems?

I know there are a lot of questions - but I would REALLY appreciate it if you have a word or two of wisdom to offer.

Again, I don't believe it was the meat mix. i followed the recipe very closely, adding the right amount of curing salt #2, etc.

I suspect a contaminated hog casing but it can be something else also.

Should I use artificial casing instead? Like edible (or inedible Collagen casings)?

i don't want to give up trying, your blog inspired me to keep trying and gave me hope that there's a light at the end of the tinel - heh.

many anticipated thanks!


Jasonmolinari said...

Gabi: 65 deg. is too warm, in my opinion. 75% humidity is perfect.
If i remember the recipe from Ruhlman doesn't contain starter culture. It's possible that your sausage was contaminated either during the manufacture or afterwards by a bad bacterial strain. A starter culture would have helped prevent this. That's why i always use one.

Casings come packed in salt, which should kill just about anything, so i don't think the problem came from there.

Collagen casings work fine as well, and are easy to use.

Spray mold would have helped prevent the fuzzy mold, but it wouldn't have prevented the sausage from going bad if it got contaminated.

The fermentation step on most salamis also helps to dry off the sausage some before it's put in the curing chamber. I think it's pretty important.

Mamaliga said...

Jason -

Thanks a LOT! This is precious advice!! Do you recommend a certain starter culture? I am checking Butcher & Packer and I see a couple types.
Any recommended quantities per pound of meat?


Jasonmolinari said...

Gabi, please see my posts on salami for answers to both those questions.

Mamaliga said...

Jason -

Thanks a lot Jason! That post answered most if not all of my questions.
I ordered the M-EK-4 to spray the surface of the sausage and the F-LC starter culture.

Now I am working on transforming my small sized fridge into an fermentation box. Looking for a low wattage bulb that will keep the temp at around 75 F for the fermentation period.

I think I begin to see the light!!!
I'll be back with reports and even a whole blog post.

thanks a ton!