Is there any sausage more flavorful than chorizo? I think not.
The smoky, robust, salty flavor of chorizo is simply addicting. However, is chorizo already cooked, or is it raw?
What is Chorizo?
In short, chorizo is a delicious sausage made from pork. Chorizo was invented in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal.
Chorizo flavor and how it is made can differ according to the region. Nevertheless, its strong aroma comes from Spanish chorizo, the pepper used to make chorizo.
This pepper gives chorizo a bright reddish tinge, as well as a spicy flavor. Typically, chorizo is encased in natural intestine casings. However, chorizo can also be encased in artificial casings.
Chorizo can also be produced from chicken or turkey. In some countries, chorizo can even be made from ostrich and iguana.
Is Chorizo Already Cooked?
In general, if you are unsure if chorizo is cooked, check the label. If the label contains cooking instructions, you probably should not eat the chorizo the second you open the package. You should cook the chorizo before you eat it, as it is most likely raw.
In addition to this, consider the chorizos location. Is the chorizo in the deli section of the meat aisle?
If it’s in the deli section, it’s probably already cooked. However, if the chorizo is in the meat aisle, it must be cooked.
If the chorizo has a hard, dry texture, it is probably cured and cooked.
To determine if chorizo is cooked, we must understand the different types of chorizos. There are 3 types of chorizos: Spanish, Mexican, and Portuguese chorizo.
The differences between these types of chorizos include how they are produced and sold.
Spanish chorizo is the most known and popular variety of chorizo. Spanish chorizo is cured and smoked, so it is fully cooked.
Spanish chorizo is found in the deli section of your local grocery store. You can eat Spanish chorizo as soon as you open the pack.
However, you should still ensure that it has the words fully cooked or cooked on the package before you eat the chorizo.
In contrast, Mexican chorizo is produced from fresh pork. It does not undergo the smoking process. Therefore, Mexican chorizo is raw and must be cooked before you eat it.
Portuguese chorizo is less known and similar to Spanish chorizo. However, it has a stronger smoky flavor because of the way it is cooked.
Moreover, paprika is not the primary spice in Portuguese chorizo. It is made with a Portuguese red wine which gives it a dark reddish-orange color. Nevertheless, chorizo is fully cooked, so it can be eaten as soon as you open the package.
How Do You Know If Chorizo Is Cooked
The temperature is the best way to determine if chorizo is cooked. However, chorizo is unlike pork tenderloin or eye of round steak.
Chorizo is greasy, and it has a mushy texture. Therefore, it is hard to get an accurate reading. Nevertheless, cooked chorizo has a temperature of 160ºF.
How To Cook Chorizo
All this talk about chorizo is probably making you crave chorizo right now. Luckily, chorizo is relatively easy to grill. Grilling the chorizo gives it a char flavor, enhancing the already smoky flavor of the chorizo.
If you use a natural gas grill, heat it to high heat. In contrast, if you use a charcoal grill, fill a charcoal chimney with charcoal briquettes, light them, and heat them until they ash over.
Place the briquettes into the base of the charcoal grill, add the cooking grate, and let the charcoal heat up.
Place the chorizo onto the grill once it is hot. Make sure you leave space between the chorizo link so air can circulate freely and help the chorizo cook evenly.
Close the grill’s lid and let the chorizo cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping them over every 5 minutes. Insert a thermometer’s probe into the thickest part of the chorizo links once it has a temperature of 160ºF.
Remove the chorizo from the grill and place them onto a plate or butcher block. Loosely tent the chorizo links with foil and let the chorizo links for 2-3 minutes.
The foil will keep the chorizo warm while the juices redistribute into the chorizo.
You can also pull out your trusty skillet and cook the chorizo on the stovetop.
Place a skillet over medium-low heat. Don’t use high heat to cook the chorizo because it will cause the chorizo to burn before the inside is cooked. Add the chorizo and 6 tablespoons of water.
Cover the chorizo and cook it for 10 minutes, turning them over every 3-4 minutes. Remove the cover and cook the chorizo for another 5-8 minutes turning it over every 2 minutes until t is golden brown.
Once the chorizo has an internal temperature of 160ºF, remove them from the heat and place them onto a plate. Let the chorizo rest a few minutes before serving.
Is It OK To Eat Raw Chorizo
Eating raw chorizo is a dangerous game. Just like you shouldn’t eat raw pork, you should never eat raw chorizo.
Raw pork can carry toxic bacteria. Bacteria can multiply in raw meat or cooked chorizo that is left to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Bacteria can lead to foodborne illness. Most people think food poisoning isn’t a big deal. However, it can cause serious illnesses, and in some cases, it can be fatal.
Furthermore, raw pork can contain different parasites, including roundworms and tapeworms. These parasites can be ingested into your body when you eat pork and cause you to get sick.
Symptoms of food poisoning include constipation, vomiting, stomach aches, chills, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and fever.
However, severe symptoms of food poisoning include heart palpitations or breathing and coordination issues.
Food poisoning symptoms can present themselves within a few hours or days after you eat the chorizo. However, severe cases can last for weeks or even months.
Nevertheless, as long as you cook your chorizo to the recommended temperature, you should not have any issues with food poisoning.
Chorizo is a tasty smoky sausage with an intense flavor. Depending on the variety, it may or may not be cooked.
Mexican chorizo is raw and needs to be cooked, while Spanish and Portuguese chorizo is cooked.
Nevertheless, you should always check the package to see if the chorizo is cooked before you eat it.