Friday, February 19, 2010

Spanish Chorizo

The beauty of Spanish chorizo is the simplicity of its ingredients - pork, salt, garlic and paprika. This simplicity allows the flavor of quality Iberian pork, fattened on acorns, to shine through. The lack of artificial preservatives had long kept this particular chorizo from ever finding favor with the USDA, so until 2004 we have not had access to it in this country.

Palacios is a large Spanish meat processor that has recently gained permission to export their authentic chorizo to this country, but part of the compromise was that they must use Dutch pork rather than the famed Iberian pork because no slaughterhouses in Spain are considered worthy by the USDA. Nonetheless, this is the only true Spanish chorizo available in the US, so I bought a few links at Central Market so I could savor that European flavor. I paired it with some Spanish cheeses to make a meal of it.

The links come in both a large package containing one link, and smaller links that come four to a pack. The Palacios large links, packed dry, were fatty and with an almost silky chew as the fat seems to cling to your tongue first and coat your mouth as mastication nears completion. As the fat dissipates, the flavor becomes smokey although no smoke is involved in the curing process. Add a bit of aged manchego and it almost tastes like brisket...okay, that was wishful thinking. These larger links seem to be more loosely packed than their vacuum packed smaller cousins, and the flavor of the fat is front and center with every bite.

Palacios small links are vacuum packed so they look wetter, and have a deep red (it will stain) layer of greasy liquid over their surface. Despite the unctuous coating, the fatty flavor was more muted in these links. They flavors were earthy with a light saltiness and a lighter aftertaste than the larger version. Although the ingredients and the nutrition facts did not differ between the varieties, the flavors seem to differ slightly, and I prefer the smaller links, greasy coating and all.

If you're interested in the nutrition facts, I'll compare these to a standard bratwurst. A single Johnsonville brat is 85 grams and has 22 grams of fat, making them about 26% fat. A single serving of Palacios chorizo is one ounce (28 grams) which contains 12 grams of fat, or 43% fat. That's some chorizo that packs one lardaceous punch. Consume with care.

- BBQ Snob


volton said...

I see your strategy, eat stuff that's even less healthy than BBQ so your wife will relent. Good thinking!

Keith Lewis said...

You can get the original and have been able to for years at military BX's. My uncle, (lived in Spain most of his adult life) would get if for me and send it to my dorm room back in the late 90's. Makes me wonder if they now stock the "approved" version.

Unknown said...

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(BBQ)Brick Barbecue,Grill

FatPizzaGuy said...

If you have any chorizo left over, a great sandwich is to fry or grill the chorizo and serve it in a toasted roll with spanish red pepper, arugula and a little olive oil. Used to take these sandwiches down a little too often in Borough Market in London, except they use rocket instead of arugula.

Mr. L said...

Daniel, wanted to let you know about a store I stumbled across in Garland you might want to check out. It's called Beef Jerky Outlet and I think it's new, 4441 Bass Pro Drive right off I-30. Couldn't spend much time there, but I did see an impressive selection, and they give samples. Lots of sauces too. Seemed pricey though.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.