Chorizo is a popular type of highly seasoned pork sausage originating from the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a famous ingredient used in Spanish and Mexican cuisines and is mostly served as breakfast or as part of a larger meal.
It comes in two different varieties, mainly Mexican and Spanish chorizo. Both impart a smoky, spicy flavor, but the Mexican variety tends to be spicier than its Spanish counterpart. And because of that, you can’t use them interchangeably.
Other varieties you can get include Italian sausage.
Let’s dive deeper to know what this fantastic ingredient is all about.
Is Chorizo Spicy?
Yes, it is. Traditionally, chorizo is a heavily spiced sausage. However, the amount of spice in both varieties varies significantly.
Mexican chorizo is made from pork. It comes uncooked, and it is mostly ground meat and pork fat. Because of that, Mexican chorizo should be cooked first before eating. The red coloring in it is a result of spicy red pepper.
If you wish, remove the casing first before you cook chorizo to remain with the actual meat.
It can also be made from beef, venison, or poultry. However, these varieties are rare to find.
Mexican chorizo can also be used on grills in place of ground beef.
Spanish Chorizo, on the other hand, comes cured and dry. Its main ingredients are coarsely chopped pork meat, paprika, garlic, white wine, and other herbs. The red color comes from smoked paprika.
One thing you should know, though, is that Spanish Chorizo can be spicy or sweet depending on the type of paprika used.
And since it comes either fully cooked or cured, you just need to slice it like pepperoni and eat it without cooking it.
The Heat Level of Chorizo
As aforementioned, both Spanish and Mexican Chorizos are highly seasoned and have a smoky flavor. However, the heat level of both varies since both are made of different ingredients.
Here, let’s look at how they vary from each other…
Variations in Heat Level
Chorizo sausage is mainly available in two different heat levels: hot and mild.
Chorizo, which is spicy, will obviously be hotter. On the other hand, Chorizo, which is less spicy, will have mild heat levels.
Even with that said, a chorizo’s heat levels will depend on who made it.
And, since different producers prefer different amounts of spice, don’t be shocked when you come across one labeled mild chorizo that is hotter than the spiciest chorizo you ever had.
Factors that Affect the Heat Level in Chorizo
As aforementioned, chorizo is traditionally meant to be a spicy sausage. Therefore the heat levels will be affected by factors like:
- The type of chorizo
- The main ingredients used
Therefore, depending on how spicy you want your chorizo, there are plenty of options out there for you.
Final Take on Chorizo
Chorizo is typically a spicy type of sausage, mainly served in Mexican and Spanish cuisines. It is traditionally meant to be spicy and is famous for its smoky flavor in different meals.
Usually, Mexican chorizo is known to be spicier than Spanish chorizo. However, the heat level or amount of spice in these types of sausages varies, depending on the chorizo and spice used.
Spanish chorizo is best for eating with soups and stews. It can also be eaten with tapas platters.
Mexican chorizo, on the other hand, apart from it being known to be cooked with eggs, could be used on a variety of different dishes like:
- In soups
- As pizza topping
- In burritos
FAQs About Chorizo’s Spiciness
Can you make Chorizo less spicy?
No. You can’t make chorizo less spicy. What you can do, however, if you are the one making it, is reduce the spices that you use. If you are making Spanish chorizo, you could use sweet or spicy paprika to suit the flavor you are going for.
How does Chorizo’s spiciness compare to other meats?
Chorizo is by far spicier compared to other meats. This is because it is spiced with different chilies or paprika, giving it that Scoville effect.
Luckily, you can also make any other type of meat as spicy as you wish. All you need to do is throw in a few hot spices here and there, and boom. You are good to go.
If you are hoping to replicate chorizo’s flavor, use regular pork sausage or salami and add smoked paprika alongside other spices to give it the chorizo flavor you are hoping to get.
What are some dishes that pair well with spicy Chorizo?
Spicy chorizo pairs well with lots of dishes.
Mexican chorizo can be served with eggs, omelets, tacos, soups, and many other dishes. It can also be used on grills in place of ground beef.
On the other hand, Spanish chorizo can be eaten with soups, stews, and tapas platters.
Can you use Chorizo in place of other spicy meats in a recipe?
No. You can’t use chorizo in place of other spicy meats because chorizo imparts a spicy, smoky flavor, which may not go well with the type of meal you are cooking or eating it with.
Instead, know first the type of flavor you want. Then, based on that, use the ingredients that will deliver the punch of flavor the way you like it.
Does chorizo taste like pepperoni?
No. both are cured pork products. However, they taste different from each other.
Pepperoni is also spicy and full of flavor. However, it has its own distinct smell and taste.
On the other hand, Chorizo’s flavor is milder than pepperoni and imparts a smoky punch of flavor to your meals. Other flavors come from the different spices used to make it, like paprika and garlic.
Are chorizo and sausage the same?
No. They are not the same, but they are similar. Chorizo is mainly made from pork and various spices, which make it Scoville.
On the other hand, regular sausage can be made from beef, pork, or turkey. It is made from raw meat and spiced with fennel or anise, giving it a less spicy flavor. Regarding how they are used, regular sausages are mainly served during breakfast, while chorizo is used in various dishes. Both have different flavors, meaning they can be used in a more extensive pallet of dishes.