Spain’s Hottest Chorizo
What is Spain’s hottest chorizo? And how is it made? Well first we have to visit “La Carniceria de Julian” – the longest established butchery in the small rural village of Orce. This family run business has been producing all manner of cured sausages for generations; real authentic strings of chorizos hang behind the counter, the hot and mild versions distinguished only by the colour of the hand tied string around them – red for hot, white for mild.
Chorizo production in Orce village is constant all year round such is the popularity of these cured sausages, customers enter the butchers and buy the chorizo by the kilo and they are highly popular during fiesta holidays (of which there are many) Julian supplies local restaurants, bars and hotels as well as Orce Serrano Hams with a full selection of Spanish cured meats, one morning whilst choosing Serrano hams from the secadero Julian noted that we purchase much more “chorizo picante” compared to the milder version. Well spotted… and of course he asked why. We then went on to explain that the chorizo is highly popular amongst customers and that many English people enjoyed good hot and spicy food.
Almost instantly a new chorizo was born – now commonly known as the Orce “Fire” chorizo. Some weeks later a date was set for production of the first batch, a recipe was devised to create the hottest chorizo that certainly the locals had ever tasted – and us!
The recipe did take some perfecting but with Julian’s wife at the helm it did not take long for her expertise to produce something that is a little special.
Step 1: The meat, for every chorizo there are two cuts of pork required, Pancetta (belly pork) and Magra (pork loin) only pure cuts of meat are used.
Step 2: The mix, a combination of cayenne pepper, ground pepper, red pepper, garlic, white wine, onion and a “secret” ingredient for this chorizo!
Step 3: Mincing, while the special ingredients are being mixed the cuts of meat are minced in the machine. The establishment is home to all manner of spotlessly clean stainless steel machines each designed specifically for its purpose.
Step 4: All of the ingredients are mixed together in what is effectively a big whisk – timing is crucial at this point, the ingredients need to blend together but a consistency needs to be maintained.
Step 5: The mixture complete, brilliantly red in colour with a wonderful spicy chorizo aroma – now its time to make sausages.
Step 6: The mixture is then placed into another machine, a very clever pressurised drum with a nozzle; it takes some practice to capture the art of Andalucian sausage making!
Step 7: Out comes the mixture, at this point the chorizo resembles one very long sausage. The skin used to house the sausage mixture comes from American Ox.
Step 8: Hand tied, the speed in which the sausages are tied every few inches to create multiple chorizos is quite impressive. Now we have strings of chorizo ready for curing.
The chorizos are now hung in the secadero or curing house rooms for around three weeks. During this time they will cure perfectly and will end up as an impressive display of red behind the butchery counter. So what do the locals make of this super hot variety? Well, many of the villagers are a bit partial to the new sausage so much so extra quantities are being made. Beforehand you would hear Julian say “Chorizo? Picante or dulce?” (Hot or sweet) now it’s “Chorizo? Picante, dulce or fuego?” (Fuego meaning “fire”)
Step 9: A big thank you to Julian and his wife Conche for letting us get involved and giving us permission to publish this material and photography, also to the staff who despite being very busy were happy to accommodate us and all our questions.