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Making Chorizo
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My grandparents preserved smoked chorizos by putting them in a metal can and covering them with hot, melted lard. They successfully shipped them to my uncle in the Phillipines during WWI (at least a two week journey through hot climes), and my parents used the same technique to ship chorizos to me from Niagara Falls to California in the late 1960's. There was never any spoilage (and I did have the facilities to test for it).

Still, I do not recommend this method of preservation to our members because of its inherent dangers (botulism, etc.) in the hands of those who do not very carefully follow the protocol (which I will NOT give here). In the interest of safety, I strongly suggest that no preservation method other than freezing be used.

I know how to dry cure chorizos, but I have never done it. Freezing the smoked chorizos meets my needs quite nicely and results in an excellent product, far better than can be purchased commercially. The secret, of course, is to eliminate as much air as possible from the packages to prevent development of freezer burn or rancidity over time.

Just thinking about this has convinced my to order the ground pork and get started on a new batch.
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Ron Gonzalez



Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 377

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:25 am    Post subject: Making Chorizo Reply with quote

Bob,

I know, that Josephine Alvarez smoked her chorizos. She would pack it in a box, send it UPS. No lard, just wrapped in paper in a box. If it was not smoked, she would not sell it to you. I wanted to by some before she put it in the casing, but she would say, "No you can't smoke it that way."
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesephine Alvarez was right in that smoking does tend to preserve chorizos, but it is not a foolproof method, and if the meat is not packed into casings it certainly cannot be smoked effectively. The concentration of salt, which preserves meat by drawing water out and thereby increasing the intracelleular concentration of dissolved substances, is critical. Most smoking methods also provide heat, which partially pasteurizes the chorizos.
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Xose



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 338
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad makes the chorizo in WV at our Casa del Rio....

He has a smoke house and everything....

Joe
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking up how dry sausages are cured when I ran into these articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_making
http://schmidling.com/saus.htm

I didn't realize that "cure" refers to a different process from smoking. Making cured sausages today usually means adding nitrites and or nitrates, although in the past drying, adding salt, and fermentation were also used.

As Bob, indicated the major worry is botulism. But the wikipedia article, in particular, warns that fresh sausage should never be smoked because that would give botulism the ideal conditions to flourish. Reading Bob's recipe, I see that his families didn't follow this guideline. Any thoughts on that, Bob?
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I nominate Xose and his parents to host our next Asturian gathering at the Casa del Rio!
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Rich



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 21
Location: Charleroi, PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the recipe for Josephine's chorizo. My father got it from Josephine's sister shortly after she passed away. There were no instructions on actually making it. It is just the ingredients she used. Bob has posted instructions for stuffing and smoking the sausage elsewhere.

20 lb ground pork- boston butt
1 oz garlic
4-6 oz salt
1 oz crushed hot pepper
1 oz black pepper
3 oz paprika
1 oz brown sugar
1 pint water
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as botulism goes, neither I nor my family ever worry about it. My grandmother shipped chorizos to her sons overseas during WWII by packing them in melted lard (theoretically creating anaerobic conditions ideal for the growth of the organism, but there was never a problem.

General guidelines to follow are:

Use only very clean bowls, grinder and utensils.

Keep the meat cold at all times.

Do not cut back on the salt in the recipe. Salt inhibits bacterial growth.

Be sure to age the salted and spiced meat in the refrigerator overnight before stuffing and smoking the sausages.

Make the chorizos only in cool or cold weather.

Be sure your smoker is hot enough to make the chorizos bleed a little fat.
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Eric Smith Fernandez



Joined: 16 Sep 2004
Posts: 117
Location: Granite City Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,

Do you put fennel seeds or anis seeds in your sausage? Also, I saw a recipe on the in Web that called for something called Aleppo pepper. Have you ever heard of it or used it in place of the crushed red pepper?

I bought 40 lbs of ground pork from my butcher along with casings. He said I can pick it up tomorrow. It will be just under $80.00. Not a bad deal, I guess.

My plan is to do ½ your recipe (20lbs) and the other ½ with the recipe Mr. Rodríguez posted that came from Josephine Alvarez.

Her recipe has an addition of brown sugar and 1 pint of water. I read on another website, the addition of water makes the stuffing process easier. Does this mess with the preservation? You had mentioned in a former post that the salt is used as a preservative, drawing moisture from the pork.

I hope I’m not asking too many questions. This is my first time doing this so I want to do it right.

Eric.
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My family never added water or seeds to chorizo.
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Eric Smith Fernandez



Joined: 16 Sep 2004
Posts: 117
Location: Granite City Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,

I just got back from our Fernández family reunion (in Donora/Webster, PA) a couple of days ago. I asked my cousin if he ever made chorizo wis his dad Angel who was my great grandfather's brother. He said they would cold-smoke the chorizo and have to keep a fire going for several days. Is this dangerous as far as Botulism is concerned?

Also I asked them about the mixing beef and pork. They said that some people in donora would make it with 1/3 pork, 1/3 beef, and 1/3 veal all coarsely ground of course. All i know is I had some great chorizo there. It was the all pork kind. The old stand by. It was way better than mine.

I also read in a different article about hanging sausages to dry in a cool dry place for several days after smoking. Isn't this dangerous as well?

I'm going to make some chorizo soon. I think this time i will put a dowel rod in my Luhr Jenson to hang the sausages and disregard the racks.

Last thing. Two weeks ago I went to the St. Louis Spanish society's picnic. Their chorizo was awesome as well. I applied to become a member and if I am accepted, I might be able to be a sub in their "rana" league. They have 6 rana tables. It looks like a game of precision. I tried it once. If i could buy the "metal rana" myself I think I could build the table. It is a good thing to have a few machinists in the family.
_________________
Soy un estudiante. Quiero estar seguro de que estoy escribiendo bien Si alguien se da cuenta de los errores gramaticales míos en los mensajes ¿Me puede avisar?


Last edited by Eric Smith Fernandez on Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric, are there any wooden parts in the smoker? I'd be tempted to use a metal rod. You can buy steel rods (also brass and aluminum) at places like Home Depot and Lowes in the hardware department. I'd be sure to clean off the oil that comes on the rods, though. Your machinist relatives may have some rod stock they can give you.

You might be able to get by with coat hangers, but they're painted, so that could be dangerous. Hmm. We used to toast marshmellows with them when I was a kid and we never worried about that!

Or for a little extra thrill, you could use sparklers!
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are cold smoking chorizos or hanging them to dry dangerous? In my opinion, both yes and no, depending on several factors.

The first is maintaining scrupulous cleanliness and adequate refrigeration throughout the process of making chorizos to minimize the possibility of contamination with bacteria and bacterial growth. The second is to follow the recipe closely and to mix the meat mixture very well. This distributes the salt, which draws water out of the meat, creating a more concentrated environment and thereby inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria. Do not cut back on the salt unless you intend to freeze the chorizos immediately. The pimiento also has an anti-bacterial effect (confirmed by lab studies).

The traditional way of making chorizos served our ancestors well for generations. When we add an awareness of sources of contamination and modern refrigeration, it will serve us well too. Needless to say, mixing the chorizo ingredients with dirty hands fresh from gardening and allowing the mixture to fester at room temperature for 24 hours is NOT a good idea.

If you are worried, you can add some of the commercial mixtures that further inhibit bacterial growth, but I have never seen a need for this, nor did my parents or grandparents. My grandfather died at 89 and my dad at 90. At almost 65, I'm still here to tell the tale.

Like Art, I would use a clean metal rod, which has the advantages of being non-porous and an ability to be cleaned in the dishwasher. Stainless steel would be my number one choice - no reactive metals like brass and aluminum. My grandparents used a 50 gallon drum with holes in the bottom set over a smokey fire. They hung their chorzos on a broom handle.

Folk practices often work well. My grandparents sent chorizos to their sons in the service during WWII by putting them in a metal can and pouring hot lard over them. Even with slow shipping to the Pacific war zone near Manila, there was never a problem. My mom and dad sent me chorizos that way from Niagara Falls to California. Again, never a problem.
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elorenzo



Joined: 07 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Donora PA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob is there a temperature that you want to keep.consistent in the smoking process?
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:16 pm    Post subject: chorizo smoking Reply with quote

A cool temperature around 38 degrees Farenheit is best, but it need not be exact. I make and smoke chorizos only in the cold weather and my smokers are outdoors, so it works out well.
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