OK... How hot should chorizo be?

When I was in L.A., chorizo would raise a sweat no matter where I got it. When I moved to the PNW, I discovered that generally people don’t do ‘hot’; so I was surprised a couple of years ago when I saw chorizo in the local market. It was so mild, I had to read the label again to make sure it was really chorizo. As it happens, my coworker’s bus stop is across the street from a carnicería in a part of town with a good Mexican population. She was kind enough to pick some chorizo up for me. All week I’ve been looking forward to chorizo and eggs, and this morning I made some. But the chorizo isn’t hot! :confused: I would have added some cayenne to it, but I’ve run out. I tried some Tapatio, but I didn’t really want the added vinegar taste.

So what’s the deal? I thought that if it came from a carnicería it would be ‘authentic’. Is it? Was I just incredibly lucky when I was in L.A., and every place I went had nice and spicy chorizo? Is it not supposed to be spicy, and I’ve been deluded all these years? How spicy is it supposed to be?

I think it’s a function of location. All the chorizo I’ve had down here has been pretty spicy.

If you tell me that Mexicans living in the PNW have lost their taste for spicy food, I may have to shoot myself. (Though doctoring it myself might be a more reasonable solution.)

Make your own. It’s pretty easy. If I’m remembering right, you just got a Kitchenaid, right? Go get the meat grinder attachment, and you can make your own chorizo as hot as you want. I have a freezer full of the stuff, and it’s reaaalllllyyy good.

Even if you don’t have a meat grinder, you can make a pretty good batch of it from ground pork. Doesn’t have quite the same consistency, but it’ll do just fine.

Or I could use my $5 yard sale meat grinder. :wink:

That’d do it too!

I’d have to agree that the flavor depends upon location.

There used to be a pretty mom and pop type mexican store around the block from my college. It was pretty great. I didn’t speak spanish, but figured out they made chorizo in several ‘degrees’. I can’t handle spicy very well, so I used to get it more sweet with just a little zing to it. Very yummy.

I’ve discovered that searching for good chorizo in the local markets on the east coast doesn’t work. You’ve got to go to the local ethnic market, depending upon your desired flavor. Or just make your own.

And to consider the idea that Mexicans in the PNW have lost it, I would have to agree. One time I went into what I thought was a “local” restaurant (not a chain store) near Sea-Tac and ordered chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. The lady just looked at me like I had a bug on my head.

All the chorizo I’ve had has definately had some bite to it be it Spanish, Mexican or Portuguese though I believe there is a sweet version of either the Spanish or Portuguese type. No jalapenos in the guacamole. No chile in the chorizo. How depressing.

I suspect that a lot of the variation by region has to do with what part of Mexico the first Mexican immigrants came from and when. People deride “Tex-Mex” as inauthentic, but of course, the Mexicans were there making most of those dishes before that place became Texas.

When I lived in Arkansas, even the “authentic” places were distinctly Tex-Mex, although I imagine the influx of immigrants from Mexico over the last 10 to 15 years has shifted things somewhat. But even a small mom-and-pop place opened by recent immigrants will try to accommodate the tastes of the people, Hispanic and Anglo, who already live in the area if that’s who they want to sell to.

Here in Colorado and New Mexico, there is a sizable population of Hispanics whose families were here before the first whites, as well as several generations of more recent immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala. But the food you get here is distinctly New Mexico-style.

Come visit Phoenix. Always served spicy enough to wake you up. I can’t imagine it mild. Kinda defeats the purpose.

The chorizo that my local meat market sells is damn hot. They make it themselves, and I asked one of the guys behind the counter about it; he tells me that they use an authentic Mexican recipe, found by one of the butchers when he was on holiday one winter, when he had occasion to try it.

Mild Chorizo would be sucky. It’s the spice that fights and defeats the Hangover molecules in your brain.

It has been my experience Texan born and rasied there the more Hispanic a population the spicier the food or sales would fall off.No Hispanic butcher,baker,or resturant in a Hispanic neighorhood wants the gringo label,and they must cater to their clientel.

I haven’t had much experience with Mexican chorizo but I’ve always found the signature taste to Iberian chorizo is the smoked pimenton. It can certainly be ‘spicy’ in that calling it spicy is more accurate than calling it sweet, but I wouldn’t have thought of it as something that’s actually spicy in absolute terms.

Thanks to this thread, I had chorizo and eggs this morning ofr breakfast. Nice and snappy!

Really? I always thought chorizo was made from salivary glands and nostrils! It’s still delicous though.

¡Bastardo grande! :mad:

I’ll say this: The chorizo I had this morning from the carnicería was spicier than the stuff I got at Cost Slutter. Maybe I can chop up a chipotle, and that will do the trick. (Wish I’d thought of it earlier.)

I dunno. The stuff I’ve had definitely had some heat. Not as much as Mexican chorizo but far from sweet or bland. I don’t think of paprika as spicy so I’ve always thought something else was in there. Recipes do vary though so maybe I’ve just been lucky.

“Chorizo” just means sausage, so it can be as hot or as mild as you want it to be.

It’s just plain ol’ pork.

Of course, you can make sausage - including chorizo - out of any piece of meat you want, and I’m sure some places use less-than-savory cuts to save money.

But any quality sausage is going to be made using quality cuts. The only real requirement for sausage making is that you need a high ratio of fat. The last thing anyone wants is a lean sausage.