Smoked Chorizo: A Smoky Recipe!

November 28, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Smoked chorizo is a popular delicacy made of minced pork shoulder mixed with different spices and smoked on low heat. This recipe is easy to make and takes about 2 hours to smoke.

I learned this homemade smoked chorizo recipe years ago in culinary school, and I’ve been smoking it ever since. You can enjoy this delicacy with different sides and eat it in several delicious ways. So, if you have pork shoulder and are looking for amazing ways to use it, read on as I show you how to prepare delicious sausage.

smoked chorizo

How to Smoke Chorizo?

Before preparing homemade smoked chorizo sausage, you’ll need a meat grinder and hog casings. Once you get the grinder and casings ready, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of pork shoulder
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of pink curing salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of chili peppers powder
  • 2 teaspoons of corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
Chorizo Sausage with Cooking Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1

First, dice the pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes in a bowl. Next, place the bowl of diced pork in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cooling the meat makes it easier to process.  Remove the pork cubes after 30 minutes and mince them using a meat grinder. I recommend using the large 8-mm blade to produce a slightly coarse texture.

Step 2

In a small bowl, combine all the dry seasoning ingredients (except for the corn syrup) and mix. Then add 2 tablespoons of cold water and the corn syrup and mix until it forms a paste. Mix the paste into the minced meat until it is completely incorporated. Then, refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Step 3

While the meat mix is chilling in the fridge, thoroughly rinse the pork casings with water. Don't skip this step, or else your homemade chorizo may taste very salty. This is because the casings are typically preserved in salt, so rinsing them reduces the saltiness.

Step 4

Next, fold the casings over the top of the sausage stuffer. Add the ground pork mix to the stuffer and run it at medium speed. Gently lead the sausages, but make sure they're fully stuffed. Finding the right tempo can be a bit of a challenge. The casings must be filled without air bubbles, but they must not be overfilled, or they will burst. After stuffing the casings with the minced meat, form uniform sausages using a horseshoe pattern and refrigerate the sausages until ready to smoke them. 

Step 5

Smoke the Spanish-style chorizo over indirect heat for about 2 hours at a low temperature of 200°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 °F. I recommend using apple wood chips in your smoker for a mild, fruity smoke flavor that complements pork. After smoking the chorizo, grill it on high heat until it develops a beautiful crispy char before you serve it! Make sure the internal temperature of the smoked chorizo sausage does not exceed 165°F.

Other Delicious Ways to Prepare Chorizo

Broiling

Broiling chorizo in the oven is a simple way to expose the meat to high, direct heat while preserving its flavor. 

  • To broil chorizo, prepare your oven for broiling by turning on the broiling setting. 
  • Allow the oven to heat up for 5 minutes, then put the chorizo links on the broiler rack.
  • Broil each side of the chorizo for about 15 minutes. Remove the meat when the exterior appears golden brown and the temperature reads 160 °F. Take the chorizo out of the oven and enjoy!

Pan-Frying

If it's too cold to fire up your smoker, try pan-frying it in a pan for crispy and tasty chorizo.  

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Slowly cooking chorizo over low heat allows the flavors to completely develop. Frying over medium heat works almost as well, especially if you're in a hurry. Avoid using high heat because it will burn your chorizos before they are fully cooked.
  • Once the pan is hot, add six tablespoons of water and the sausage.
  • Cover the pan and fry the chorizos for about 10 minutes, turning them over frequently.
  • Remove the lid and continue to cook the chorizo for 5 more minutes, removing it when the internal temperature reaches 160 F. Serve the tasty sausage with your favorite dishes and enjoy.
Grilled Chorizo Sausage Served on a Plate

What is Smoked Chorizo?

Smoked chorizo sausage is a popular type of pork sausage in many countries. It's made with ground pork and different spices. 

Some varieties of chorizo are sold smoked, while others are not. Smoked chorizo sausage has a stronger flavor and is typically used in burritos and tacos. Unsmoked chorizo, on the other hand, is commonly used in stews and sauces. Overall, chorizo is deliciously versatile and can enhance the flavors of any dish.

Types of Chorizo

There are numerous chorizo varieties to choose from, but I'll discuss the two most popular chorizo varieties here: Spanish and Mexican chorizo. 

Spanish Chorizo

I'll start with the chorizo we discussed in today's recipe. Spanish chorizo is a dried and cured pork sausage. It is mainly available in spicy and sweet flavors because of the sweet or spicy smoked paprika, the unique ingredient that gives the chorizo its distinctive red color. Unlike other sausages, this chorizo has a dense texture and can be used to add an intense flavor to stews and stir-fry recipes.

Mexican Chorizo

Mexican-style chorizo is a spicy type of sausage that is typically made of pork, but it can also be made with other meats such as beef. This type of chorizo is sold in a casing or loose. Mexican chorizo can be used in tacos, as a topping for nachos, as stuffing, and so on. 

How to Choose Meat for Chorizo?

If you want to make your own chorizo, you must pay attention to the meat and fat you use. One of the benefits of making your own chorizo is knowing exactly what it is made of.

I recommend picking meat with about 25% fat and 75% lean meat. That's why pork shoulder is a great choice because of its fat-to-meat ratio and affordability. You can also use pork butt for your smoked chorizo sausage and get tasty results. 

So, the choice is up to you. Also, pay attention to the color of the pork cut you're buying; the meat should appear bright pink with a silky white fat strip.

Raw Pork Sausage with Coriander Leaves

How to Freeze Chorizo?

Homemade smoked chorizo can be frozen in the same way that other meats can. Place the chorizo in an airtight container or storage bag. Then, label the bag or container and store it in the freezer. The chorizo should last for a year before going bad.

If you prefer to preserve your chorizo links in the refrigerator instead, bear in mind that they will last for up to two weeks. All you have to do is place the sausage in a labeled, airtight container and place it in a fridge cooling at 40 degrees or lower. 

Can You Refreeze Chorizo?

In my experience, refreezing chorizo is generally a bad idea because of the spread of bacteria. For this reason, I strongly discourage refreezing chorizo sausage, or else you may get sick. Rather, try freezing it in portions. 

Conclusion

That’s all there is to know about smoking chorizo sausage. Start by mincing your preferred meat and mixing it with the spices in this recipe. Then, stuff the minced meat and cook it at low heat. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients as you wish. My homemade smoked chorizo recipe is very versatile and can be enjoyed in numerous ways!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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