How to make chorizo

Chorizo is one of those awesome things created by mankind that I swear must be served in heaven…along with bacon. Spanish in origin, it’s a cured and semi-dried sausage made from pork. It’s super aromatic and and gets it distinct reddish colour from the pimento peppers in it. This recipe also uses a little bit of paprika to add some smokiness to the final flavour.


Ask your butcher to get you pork casings, they work best for this recipe but if you can’t find them then the more common sheep casings will do. Be gentle when working with casings though, they rip very easily and need a little bit of TLC. When you buy them they will usually come mixed into with some kosher salt, don’t be alarmed by this, just rinse the salt off before use. When you’re done and have some casings left over then put the casings back in the salt. This helps keep the casings in tracts and from sticking.

The cut of pork you should ask your butcher to make your mince from should be pork shoulder. Spek is basically just pork fat, you know those bits of white fat in boerewors? That’s what Spek is. Most butchers should stock it for their own sausage making but I rarely see it being sold on shelves, so be prepared to get some weird looks when you request it! They’ll probably have to grab some for you from their own supply.

Chorizo is awesome in summer when cut into slices and served in salads with watermelon…yes, watermelon. Try it. Thank me later.


For the sausage filling

  • 250g pimento pepper
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2kg coarsely ground pork shoulder/ lean pork mince
  • 500g ground spek/pork fat
  • 4 garlic cloves minced fine
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves

For the sausage casings

  • 2 metres pig casings (preferrably) or sheep casings
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar


  1. For the Sausage filling:
    1. Soak the chillies in a bowl in boiling water. Cover for 15 minutes.
    2. Drain chillies and chop into smaller pieces. Place the chopped pieces back in the bowl.
    3. Pour the vinegar over the chillies and marinate for 45 minutes, stirring them from time to time.
    4. Pour the chillies and vinegar into a blender and blend until fine, add a bit more vinegar if the blades clog up.
    5. Place the pork, spek, garlic in a bowl and toss until well mixed.
    6. Add the blended chilli, oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, allspice, cloves. Mix everything together by hand.
    7. To taste the flavour of the mixture, fry a little bit of it in a small pan until cooked, taste is and add more salt to the raw mixture if needed. Cover the bowl tightly and let the mixture marinate in the fridge for at least 1 day (ideally 3 days).
    8. Occasionally turn the mixture so the flavours are well blended. Divide the chorizo into smaller batches.(The mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months.)
  1. For the sausage casings:
    1. Rinse the casings in cool running water to remove the salt. Soak the casings in water (enough to cover them) mixed with the vinegar for 30 minutes.
    2. Remove the casings from the water, cut them in half.
    3. Squeeze each end of each casing and fill the opposite end with water (this is to check if there are any holes. If there is a hole in the casing cut the casing on both sides of the hole, tie a double knot at one end and press any water out the other end.)
    4. You can begin stuffing the filling into the casings now. It can be done with just a funnel and any round, piece of wood that fits into the opening. Ideally, the old school way is to use your fingers.
    5. Carefully push the open end of the casing over the funnel, pushing it as far up as it will easily go.
    6. Now, stuff some of the chorizo mixture into the funnel, push as much of it as you can down into the casing. Press the mixture firmly into the casing. Push enough into the casing to make a firm package but leave a little empty space/ air pocket at the end to tie another double knot. Twist and tie every 10cm with food safe string (the type you use for trussing chicken and gammon).
    7. Hang the sausages to dry at room temperature in a cool room with a constant breeze (or a blowing fan) for 4 days. Alternatively you can use a dehydrator (like the one I used to make biltong. see my “How to make biltong” recipe on this site).
    8. Place the sausage in an airtight container covered in paper towel sheets and refrigerate the sausage and continue to dry it for 3 more more days. The links will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator or they can be frozen for a few months.

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