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2018 Chorizo Harvest

Michael Giacopassi

Posted on January 17 2018

It’s chorizo harvest time! We did a quick 25lb run of spicy Spanish Chorizo the week before Christmas and now it is time for packaging. The chorizo hung for a little over a month, lost almost 50% of its weight (too much) so it is ready.

The chorizo when finished leaves a smoky, spicy aftertaste, is firm but not hard and the perfect size to be a travel companion on a hike, picnic or any adventure. Paired with any number of soft cheeses and a glass of red – it is a great snack, app or to fill out a charcuterie platter.

The recipe is quite simple and I have been using in one form or another for years. The one hard part is often finding the right spice – I typically never have the correct one called for or if I do , enough for the entire 25 lbs so I make it up as I go along and add in a few other spices from the cabinet.

Spicy Spanish Chorizo

  • 25 lbs ground pork butt (shoulder) – mixture and grind is important here. Ask your butcher to remove the back flap – but leave a good 30% of fat in. Course grind is fine.
  • 250 grams of kosher salt
  • 5 tsp of Cure #2
  • 50 grams powdered dextrose
  • 75 grams F-RM-52 (starter culture)
  • 25 cups water
  • ½ cup of spice. I used crushed red hot peppers, spicy paprika and smoky paprika
  • ¼ cup of diced garlic
  • 50 feet of hog casing
  • Splash or four of red wine

Mix the coldest that you can handle grinded shoulder with everything (dissolve the starter culture in water before hand) then stuff it in your casings making sure to prick holes in it as you go – then hang. With only 25lbs you should be able to mix this by hand on a large table or countertop without too much mess.

If you have a dedicated stuffer this goes quickly – you can use the kitchen aide mixer attachment as well. Try making lengths of 6” – 8” inches, twisting in between and pricking the casings as you go (I use corn cob holders).

I know I over simplified it at the end – but it honestly is rather easy. Ideal hanging temps is around 60 F and humidity should be between 60% - 70%. Anything lower than that and you get case hardening where the outside cures and dries out faster than the inside. This can typically be resolved in the vac seal but it should not be relied on as a way to even things out all the time if you can help it.

Make sure to not have your links all tied together and leave several as stand alone piece so you can get starting weight. Once your individual links have lost 30% - 40% of their original weight they should be good to go.

If you experience case hardening or not – its time for vac seal. It is a good way to balance everything out and of course preserve your chorizo goodness – unless of course you plan on handing out all 68 sticks to your closest 68 friends.  In a sealed environment, these are good for 3 years – maybe longer but I haven’t pushed anything past that.

If you want  to do a smaller batch – feel free to cut the recipe down by whatever you need to – do a 5 lb run and see how it comes out – the only difficult thing is getting over your fear of trying it in the first place.

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