Mexican Chorizo

from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn, with additional commentary

Mexican Chorizo is classically a free form sausage used loose as an ingredient in other dishes, rather than in links or in patties.  But don’t feel bound by classic rules if you like a spicy sausage with a long, interesting finish!

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds /2.25 kg boneless pork shoulder butt, diced
  • 1.5 ounces / 40 grams kosher salt (3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons /16 grams ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon / 8 grams hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon / 8 grams chipotle powder or cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon / 18 grams minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon /3 grams freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon /6 grams chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon / 0.5 gram dried oregano)
  • 0.5 teaspoon /1.5 grams ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons /45 ml tequila, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons /45 ml red wine vinegar, chilled
  • 10 feet /3 meters hog casings, soaked in tepid water for AT LEAST 30 minutes and rinsed

Prep (can be done a day or more in advance)

  1. Put the bowl from the stand mixer in the freezer.  Put the grinder attachment in the freezer.  Let them stay there as long as possible before grinding the meat.  I have the luxury of freezer space, so I put them in a day in advance.
  2. Dice the pork shoulder butt in one inch cubes.  Put these in a large mixing  bowl, cover with plastic, and put in the refrigerator and allow to chill as long as possible.  I found chilling it overnight works well.
  3. Soak the casings (if you’re going to use casings) in tepid water for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.  I’ve found that soaking overnight, and then changing the soaking water helps relax the casings so that they are easy to work with.

Process

  1. Combine all ingredients except the tequila and vinegar and toss to distribute the seasonings.  Chill until ready to grind.
  2. Grind the mixture through the small die into a bowl set in ice.
  3. Add the tequila and vinegar to the ground meat mixture and mix with the paddle attachment until the liquid is incorporated and the mixture has developed a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute on medium speed.
  4. Saute a small portion of the sausage, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  5. If desired, stuff the sausage into casings and twist into 6 inch / 15 cm links.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

Cook

  1. If in link form, gently saute or roast the sausage to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F / 65 degrees C.  If using loose, saute until cooked through.
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