Here in California the only chorizo that’s easily found is of the Mexican variety, although with some looking, Spanish and other styles of chorizo can be found as well. Heck, being in California, you can probably find some sort of Martian chorizo given enough searching,
The Mexican stuff found in most grocery stores comes as a kind of reddish paste that’s basically packed into a plastic tube that must be sliced open in order to squeeze out the “stuff” within. Here’s the listed ingredients of commercially available beef chorizo: beef salivary glands, lymph nodes and fat, paprika, soy flour, salt, vinegar, spices, red pepper, garlic, sodium nitrate. Pork chorizo contains the same “cuts” except they’re pig parts. Aren’t salivary glands and lymph nodes technically “by-products”? They both sound like pet food to me. Except for the spices and vinegar, the ingredients are pretty much interchangeable with those in Alpo.
Mexican chorizo that’s made in real Mexican markets may (let’s hope anyway) have more wholesome ingredients, but who really knows? Anyway, it’s a sure bet that you want to cook the hell out of any commercial chorizo before eating any of it. Rare or medium rare is definitely NOT the order of the day with this stuff.
Once cooked, you get to deal with all that orange-red grease. Probably at least half of the weight of the packaged commercial chorizo turns out to be grease. Now I know that Anthony Bourdain on one of his shows, where he’s eating camel spleens or something equally yummy, stated that anything that drips red grease can’t be all bad, but come on! Eating that stuff has to be a heart attack in waiting. In my younger days when I actually ate that stuff, I used to pour the cooked stuff from the skillet onto a fine sieve placed over a bowl, just so I could eat those mouthwatering salivary glands and lymph nodes and delay that pending heart attack.
Anyway, here’s a solution to all of us that love chorizo but really don’t want to eat lymph nodes, salivary glands, pituitary glands, gall bladders, adrenal glands, or for that matter, glands or nodes of any kind. Miners Mix makes a great Carne Asada / Chorizo mix that uses real meat instead of those tasty meat by products. Miners Mix is all natural spice blend that has no preservatives or flavor enhancers. With Miners Mix, you can use any kind of hamburger, but ideally you want some fat in the mix for best flavor. It’s best to use 80/20 or 85/15 hamburger so there’s some fat in the final mix. It can be made with ground turkey, but the results will be dry and unsatisfactory. When made as the package directs and cooked, the resultant chorizo is sort of like a Mexican sloppy José. Scrambled with eggs and burritoizecd, it makes about the best healthy chorizo anywhere. It’s also a great addition to boxed au gratin potatoes. About 0.25-0.5 cup uncooked chorizo added to the potatoes prior baking makes incredible Mexican-style au gratin potatoes.
So, be sure to try out the Miners Mix Carne Asada / Chorizo Mix and leave the by-products for your dog and cat to eat. There might be a shortage of glands and nodes someday.