Spanish Chorizo is a cured fermented dried sausage made from coarsely ground pork/fat and heavily spiced. The process of making Spanish chorizo takes between 1-2 months and the end result is like an edible work of art.
This salami gets it’s flavor from fermentation and the different types of Spanish paprika that are used. I personally like the flavor that the paprika from the La Vera region gives my chorizo but ant Spanish paprika will give this salami and excellent flavor.
Salami making is what I consider “next level” charcuterie. It’s challenging, rewarding, and will require the use of special equipment (especially if you want it to come out amazing). What I’m about to tell you may seem a little overwhelming but if you really want to take your charcuterie to it’s highest art form, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are many forums dedicated to the art of salami making and of course if you have any questions or need any help trouble shooting you can always count on me!! I have helped countless of aspiring salumist produce high quality charcuterie. With that being said here we go……
The first thing you’ll need in order to make salami is a way to test the pH of your meat. The process of making salami requires a fermentation. This is one of the safety hurdles that you have to achieve in salami making. During the fermentation step lactic acid producing bacteria are acidifying your meat and lowering the pH. This lowered pH provides an environment that bad bacteria do not like. Being able to know exactly what the pH of your meat is during the fermentation step will help you understand when it’s ready to start drying. For salami we are targeting anything under 5.2pH. The lower you go the “tangier” your salami will be, so monitoring the pH is not only about safety it’s also about flavor.. I use a pH meter from Apera Instruments called PH60S-Z. This meter is easy to use, reliable, and offers incredible peace of mind when making high end charcuterie.
The next thing you need in order to make salami is a place for it to dry. The absolute best option for most people is to have a drying chamber. This chamber provides a controlled environment so that your salami can dry evenly. Building a drying chamber is relatively easy but if you don’t want to build one and have some rainy day money laying around buying a drying/curing chamber is even easier.
The reason I like drying chambers so much is because I can produce excellent charcuterie all year long and I am able to maintain a 55F and 80% humidity environment with little to no effort. Alternatively if you have a basement or cellar and it’s 55F with 80% humidity you can hang your salami there as well.
If you decide to go the chamber route you will need 2 controllers. One will control the temperature and the other will control the humidity. Both of these controllers are very easy to use and absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining the proper conditions. Inkbird makes an affordable unit that’s reliable and easy to use
A small humidifier and dehumidifier in your chamber will keep the humidity in balance. These 2 units are plugged into the humidity controller and the controller turns them on and off based off of the parameters that you set. This elevated humidity will allow your salami to dry evenly. If your humidity is too low the outside of your sausage will dry faster than the inside causing a dry ring to form around your salami. If the ring gets too dry it will keep the inside from drying causing food spoilage.
The other thing I would recommend getting is a good sausage stuffer. The art of salami making requires that your meat and fat stay cold at all times. If your fat begins to smear during any of the steps it will effect the end result of your salami. Trying to stuff salami meat into a casing using a kitchen aid attachment or a grinder stuffing attachment will not yield the best results as these 2 methods tend to heat the salami mince meat too much.
I’ve got lots of blog posts and videos on making salami that go into a lot of detail. This Genoa Salami post is a great place to start. Just remember that the process of making salami is exactly the same regardless of the recipe. Here’s a quick overview.
Follow basic salami preparation practices when making this sausage.
- Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment.
- Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (below 34F) during the grinding process
- Rehydrate your starter culture (in non-chlorinated water) for 30 minutes prior to use.
- Mix your very chilled mince meat, seasonings, and starter culture till the mince becomes very tacky
- Tightly stuff the mince into casings and prick out any air pockets
- Record the starting weight and the target of each salami link
- Brush with protective mold culture
- Hang the salami to ferment for 24-72 hours (depending on the starter culture)
- After the pH target has been hit, hang the salami in a drying chamber till the weight loss target has been achieved.
- Remove from the drying chamber, slice thinly, and enjoy
Here are a few things you might find useful when making sausage
- High Quality Natural Casings (AA Grade)
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- MK4 Thermapen (Accurate Thermometer)
- Chef Knife – KOTAI
- Boning Knife
- Sausage Pricker
- Flavor of Italy
- Apera pH Meter with Bluetooth
- Insta Cure #1
- Insta Cure #2
- Non Fat Dry Milk Powder
- Meat Grinders
- Meat Mixers
- Sausage Stuffers
- Bella’s Cold Smoke Generator
- InkBird Controllers temp & Humidity
- Dehumidifier Eva Dry 1100
- Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!
If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.
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- 700 g lean pork
- 300 g pork back fat
- 25 g kosher salt
- 2.5 g insta cure #2
- 7.5 g spicy paprika
- 17.5 g sweet/smoked paprika
- 4 g garlic powder
- 2.5 g oregano
- 2 g dextrose
- 20 g nonfat dry powder milk optional
- hog casings
- Flavor of Italy Starter Culture 1/4 tsp of starter culture dissolved in 1/4 cup of distilled water. Let rehydrate for 30 minutes prior to using (this is for every kilo pounds of meat that you have)
- Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small strips or cubes. Place meat and fat in the freezer for an hour or until the temp reaches 32f – 34F.
- Grind your very chilled meat on a 10mm plate.
- add all of the spices (except the non fat milk powder or the starter culture). Toss to combine then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The following day rechill your meat. Once it's chilled add the starter culture and the nonfat dry powder milk then mix till it becomes very tacky. If you grab a small handful it will stick to your hand if you hold your hand upside down.
- Stuff your mince meat into the casings, link, and prick out any air pockets. Weigh your chorizo and record the weight.
Fermenting and drying instructions
- To ferment your sausage hang at room temperature (75F-85F) for 24 hours (if you have a way to test the pH you are aiming for anything between 4.9 and 5.2)
- after fermentation place the meat in a drying chamber where the temperature is 55F and the humidity is 80%. Here it will stay till it looses 40% of its weight.
- After you hit your weight loss target your chorizo is ready to enjoy.
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40 thoughts on “Spanish Chorizo”
Make a hard salami
After Spanish Chorizo is ready, do you vac seal it and if so, do you remove the casing? Or, do you just store it in the fridge? Also, what’s the procedure for freezing it? In your video, you don’t spray it to produce mold, but could you?
You do want to vac seal it and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you don’t vac seal it, the chorizo will continue to dry out. You don’t have to remove the casing but you do have to remove any mold on the casing if you decide to vac seal it. If you don’t the mold covering will die off and leave you with a slimy texture. I didn’t spray my salami with mold but you certainly can.
what size and type of casings did you use for the Spanish chorizo
For this salami I used 32-36mm hog casings, but any casings will do. You can make this think like a snack stick (called chorizo zamorano) or thick like a large salami (called Chorizon)
During fermentation, I notice fat/oil dripping in the water pan (in my oven). Is this something to be concerned about when doing this chorizo. The best way to describe it is that it’s sweating. When under the plastic wrap.
Hey William. If oil is leaking out (even a little) it means that somewhere in the processing of your meat you smeared the fat. Either in the grinding or mixing. Depending on how bad the fat was smeared will determine if the texture of your finished salami will be ok. If it’s bad, your salami will be a little dry and won’t hold together too well. If it’s super bad it could keep the salami from drying properly. The best case scenario is that you only smeared the fat a little bit and your finished product will be ok just slightly greasy..
Ok perfect. When I chill my meat I must not let it get cold enough. I’m chilling in a metal bowl. The exterior gets cooler before the middle of the pile. I’ll start chilling on a plate or flat pan. Thank you for the help!
That should improve the grind. Temp of the internal part should be 32F-35F. Also the condition of your plate and knife are important. If they are dull it will also mess up the grind.. Let me know ho wit works out..
I am following this thread of comment about oil dripping out. I just did a batch of chorizo, stuffed into 38-42 mm hog casings and pretty much followed your recipes to the letter.I fermented the salamis overnight i the oven with light on, the temperature in the morning was 89F and, the PH was 4.87 and there was quite a bit of oil in the pan below the salami – much more than I have seen in the past. When I ground the fat it was frozen – my thinking was that “colder was better” could that have resulted in Fat smearing? the knives and plate on the grinder were
very sharp. Is some fat/oil leakage to be expected?
ok. So oil dripping from your salami means you smeared the fat somewhere during the process. If the fat was too cold (frozen) during grinding and the grinder bogged down through the process, this could cause the fat to smear. You mention that your knives and plate was very sharp. How did you test this? Fat smearing can happen at 2 stages during the process. Grinding and mixing. Just so you know, a properly made salami should have no fat leak out of it at any point in the process.
I have a batch of your Spanish chorizo drying right now and being my first attempt I have a few questions. Fist I used t spx culture because I can’t get the one you recommended in the recipe. I formented it in my oven for 72 hours and used the test strips I had bought as far as I can tell the ph was at 5.2. They are kind of hard to read and I bought a digital tester to be safe from now on. I have them drying in my cold room in the basement and the temp is 55 degrees and I have a humidifier going to keep the humidity at 80 percent. I did not spray a surface mold on them but I am getting a powdery white mold on them which I have been wiping off with vinegar every few days. Given all that how can I be sure the are safe to eat when they lose 40 percent of their weight. Also. I did a batch of the salami and stuffed it in fibrous casings and used the t spx as well. My only concern on those is I put them directly on my oven racks during fermentation which made some dark spots on the casings. I didn’t clean the racks so I am assuming that’s what they are from. Is that a concern. My digital ph tester will be here in a couple days can I use it to test ph after the sausages have been drying for a couple weeks. I really enjoy your website and am looking forward to trying more of your recipes.
Hi Phillip. Sounds like everything is going well. Did you follow my recipe? If you did then you should be good to go after your salami has finished drying. If you followed a different recipe I can’t guarantee it.. As far as the lines go from your oven racks I wouldn’t worry about that too much. That’s typically what happens when you place your meat on aluminum racks. If they would have been stainless steel that wouldn’t have happened… Either way it’ll be ok. Next time just wrap the entire salami in cling film and ferment it!! It’s the easiest way I’ve found so far. You’ll be glad you bought the ph meter. Strips are not very reliable. So quick question. How much sugar did you add (dextrose) and what was the temperature you fermented your salami in.
I used your recipe so put the amount of dextrose it said. I fermented at about 68 to 70 degrees
I’ve made this chorizo before. Turned out great. I’m now in Bulgaria for b a couple years on a job, can’t get any forms of starter cultures here, that I know of.
Any issues or changes not using a culture?
You can always use the liquid from fermented sauerkraut juice. The bacteria in it will ferment and acidify the meat making it safe for drying.. If you do use sauerkraut juice you’ll want to increase the dextrose to .5%
Thanks Eric for your timely reply about fat smearing. The Knives on my grinder and plate are brand new – maybe used 5 times. The knife feels sharp and the plate seems to have a crisp edge to it – was a fresh out of the package 10mm plate. If the fat smeared like it appears to have would I be better off just turning these into cooked sausage and starting over? If I do that should they get smoked first? Thanks and Happy holidays!
Did you use cure #1 or cure #2?
I used Cure #2. So wasn’t entirely sure it would be safe to eat if it hadn’t aged properly. Thank you again for your input and advice your website and videos have been great!
That’s correct. I wouldn’t cook it up. You can try to dry it and see how it turns out. There’s a very slight possibility that it’ll be ok. If too much fat is smeared the texture will suffer but at least you’ll get to see what that looks like.
Thank you again. I will try to dry it and see how it goes. In the meantime I am doing another batch tonight. Will let you know….
Can this spice profile be used for a fresh (or smoked) sausage? I was thinking cut the salt in half cure#1 in place of #2 and just cold water in replacement of the culture
… sorry and no dextrose. I have this drying in my fridge using Umai salami casings but it smells so good I want to eat something like this sooner!
Correct. if you bring the salt level down to around 1.5% ish and add cure #1 you will have a rock and roll smoked sausage!!
Great thanks! These paprikas are simply amazing. Had my first try of the salami recipe and it was great. Maybe next weekend I will go with this as a smoked sausage as suggested. Thanks for the help, I will be doing the braut recipe again this weekend.
That’s excellent!! The chorizo is one of my favs!!
Is it normal that my meat pH was 5.8 and after mixing it shows 5.28 already?? Is it because some of the spices or did I mess up something?
That’s not normal. What ph meter are you using
It’s a voltcraft soil pH meter. That is what I could buy easily here in eastern Europe… I used it with great success when making cheeses.
The chorizo is now covered with white mold and has a nice aroma, but after fermentation it dropped down to 4.67 pH… Still hoping the best, haha
Makes sense. That’s not the most accurate for testing meats. In eather case sounds like it’s fermented nice. Everything should be ok..
Hi Eric, thanks for your great videos. I have your chorizo in my drying chamber at the moment and it is putting out a very fermented small at about day 5. It doesn’t smell ‘off’ and the texture after fermentation had definitely changed, Id dont have a ph meter, but i fermented it for about 22 hours. Is this strong smell normal at this stage ?
I would say yes. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Is the chorizo finished? How was it?
H Eric, love your site and your videos, I see you didn’t prick the air from this sausage
do you not need to?
Not necessarily. If there are air pockets, I would always prick them out.
I am quite new to fermented sausage making and am willing to study and learn (do the work!). I am a rookie. I have made Two batches with T-SPX. Hungarian Salami and Chorizo. (Your recipes) Both fermented and dried (drying). I’m using Umai.
The Hungarian used .2% each of Dextrose and table sugar. Checked PH at 45 hours (1st time)and it was at 4.88. A little low as I was looking for 5.0-5.2. Learned I had to check it earlier to monitor ph so I could end fermentation at the right PH. (50mm casing)
The Chorizo (32mm casing) also had .2% of Dextrose and table sugar. (I added the table sugar to this recipe on my own based on the Hungarian Salame recipe). I also used 2% nonfat dry milk (the high temp) in this recipe. 1st ph check was at 24 hours at 5.3. At 26 hours I was at 5.17 and I pulled it. Very quick.
Was the accelerated time line to correct ph due to the nonfat dry milk? I read it is about 50% lactose (after I completed the fermentation on the Chorizo.
Did I overfeed the culture?
Will the quick 26hr timeline to 5.17ph for T-SPX affect the final product?
Thanks…absolutely watch all of your videos.
Welcome to the craft. The accelerated time could be due to the milk powder, or the spices used. Often some spices naturally will contain forms of simple sugars. Did you check multiple points on the salami? I try to check at least 3, then I will take the average. What type of ph meter do you have?
I will admit, 26 hours to get to 5.17 is pretty quick for tspx. Regardless, if you are in the safe zone it will be ok.
I have a Milwaukee ph meter. I tested the sample mince of the sausage in about 4 places. I also tested the ph today after 12 days of drying and it was at 5.05 so we should be fine.
Question: After 12 days of drying (remember,,using Umai 32MM casings). I’m at a 7-8% weight loss. Right or wrong I thought it might be more. With the dry milk bonding to water, will that slow down the drying process?
One more (lol..you are my trusted expert)..do you test your ph before stuffing to provide a baseline? I seem to have read that some guys test it in the very beginning and then decide how much dextrose and or sucrose to put in to the drop the ph to a certain point.
I can’t thank you enough for you taking the time to help me out.
Cool. 7-8% is slow but I wouldn’t worry. Sometimes the refrigerator dries the meat very slowly (slower than in a chamber). The milk powder will not affect the drying, if anything the casings from umaui is just allowing for less moisture to escape.
If you want to test the raw meat you can. That’s a more advanced way and calculated way to get the sugars right. Typical fresh meat is around 5.6 ph but if your meat measures higher, then you will want to increase the dextrose a touch to get you to that safe zone without any issues.
Thanks a lot Eric!