How to Make Spanish Chorizo Sausage

Published on 2/22/2010 in Spanish Culture

Chorizo is that wonderfully tasty sausage to be found and enjoyed all over Spain. There are many different ones, each Spanish family having its own particular favorite but, basically, they fall into two different types... fresh chorizo, which will need cooking before you eat it, and cured chorizo, which you can slice and consume just as it is.

Chorizo sausages are normally a strong, orangey-red color. This is because of the paprika or pimentón they contain - a main ingredient of chorizo sausages.

Paprika comes in two different types - "picante" or spicy, and "dulce" or sweet. Depending on the type of paprika used to make the sausage, the resulting chorizo will be either a spicy or sweet variety.

But, how is chorizo made, and what are its origins?...

How To Make Chorizo

ChorizoGoing back, more Spanish families lived in the country. More-often-than-not, they'd have a little plot of land, where they'd grow their own vegetables, keep some chickens... and fatten a pig.

The beauty of keeping a pig was that it could be cheaply fed from kitchen leftovers and, once killed, nearly every part could be used, with practically no waste. When November arrived, and the pig was nice and fat, the family would gather together - each having their own particular role to play - and kill the pig.

In Spanish, this slaughtering of the pig is known as the "matanza", and is still very much celebrated in Spanish villages to-day, with fun-loving fiestas, free-flowing wine, and much rejoicing.

Why did the "matanza" traditionally take place in November? Well, the weather was cooler then, with less chance of the meat going off. Also, it meant that village people were well-stocked up for the winter. This was particularly important as - even to-day - more-isolated villages in mountainous areas are completely cut off for a spell during winter when heavy snows have fallen.

Going back, each family would kill its own pig. This was no easy task, as getting a big, fat pig settled, ready for the knife, is quite hard work!

The pig was killed by stabbing it in the neck. This also released the blood, which the ladies of the family would catch in a bowl. Care had to be taken to ensure the blood didn't clot, for this was needed for mixing with rice and spices to make "morcilla" or black pudding.

It was also the task of the females to make the chorizo sausages. For this, they would take the pig's intestine, empty it, clean it, and then leave it to soak in salt water, to remove any unpleasant odors.

Once ready, the intestine would be filled with a mixture of finely-chopped pork, paprika, garlic and salt, and the end tied in a knot. Originally, the chopping of the meat and the procedure of squeezing it into the intestine was all done manually. Nowadays, however, there's a machine to help with this.

Once filled and securely tied, the chorizo sausage was ready for hanging. It would be left to cure in a well-ventilated place, probably for at least 3 months.

Nowadays, the pig is killed in the local abattoir, under strict, hygienic conditions. A vet will test the meat and, once it's been approved, the owner of the pig will collect it, take it home, and carry on with preparing it.

And now, for those of you with a pig roaming around in your garden, which you plan to slaughter in November, here's a basic recipe for making your very own, tasty, chorizo sausage!...

Chorizo Recipe


- 1 kilo pork
- 40 gr paprika - sweet or spicy, according to taste
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and crushed
- 20 gr salt
- 50 cm pig's intestine
- A little water


1. Chop up the pork fairly finely.
2. Mix in the paprika, garlic, and salt.
3. If necessary, use a little water to facilitate mixing.
4. Cover with cling film.
5. Leave in fridge 24-48 hours.
6. Fill intestine with the mixture, leaving a few centimetres of intestine free at one end.
7. Tie a knot in the end of the intestine.
8. Leave to hang in a well-ventilated place, normally for 3 months plus.

Well, I do hope all this talk of killing pigs and filling intestines won't put you off enjoying all those delicious chorizo sausages you'll find in Spain!

Written by: Linda Plummer

About the author:

Linda Plummer is an avid fan of Spanish cuisine. Learn more about Spanish food, and experiment with deliciously easy Spanish recipes at her website:

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Monchet said:
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 12:42 AM

Tried this unbelievably simple recipe without all of the other ingredients that other recipes require, and I was impressed with the results. Delicious!

Steve said:
Thursday, January 2, 2014 @ 10:27 PM

I wouldn't touch this recipe with a barge pole.
To not use salt cure #2 or a fermentation bacteria is botulism in the making! There are also several other ingredients missing to make this an authentic chorizo.

Heinrich Muller said:
Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 11:36 AM

I am sure the guy was only joking when he suggested to using dog meat! My son works in Nigeria and recently befriended a stray dog, this dog has become a super faithful pet to him. However he had to transport the dog to South Africa at a cost of nearly $3000.00 (22000.00 ZA rand) in order to save his dog from being eaten by the locals. Apparently this is quite normal.

Frank said:
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 @ 8:35 PM

Does the meat not go off if left for three months without freezing it ?

jongluer said:
Sunday, March 31, 2013 @ 6:04 AM

Lets keep it positive, negativity gives me heart burn. Will try your recipe. Thanks

Dan said:
Thursday, January 31, 2013 @ 2:59 PM

I'm going to try this, but should nitrite be added for protection against spoilage /botulism, and for colour?

andi pandi said:
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 9:01 PM

i've been using this method of curing for years and it does truly make great tasting chorizo.

as for the brain dead idiot who wants to use dog, well done moron, whats wrong, is this simple recipe still too complex for your understanding.....

Naresh said:
Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

Can you use lamb instead of pork

Naresh said:
Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

Can you use lamb instead of pork

Nikita said:
Sunday, October 7, 2012 @ 2:52 AM

just an answer to Guy and Paulf

You can use dog or even cat if you want. But your chorizo win be tasting like crap! Use your granny instead. That helps!

Peter Jensen said:
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 1:47 AM

Thank you Linda.

I didn't know making chorizo was this simple. I thought slight smoking was involved as well... I'm definately gonna try it out.

Sean G said:
Sunday, May 13, 2012 @ 9:27 PM

Chorizo - AV IT!

KT said:
Friday, April 20, 2012 @ 5:21 PM

made chorizo and then put it in a lush paella MMM

KT said:
Friday, April 20, 2012 @ 5:02 PM

made chorizo and then put it in a lush paella MMM

Guy said:
Sunday, August 7, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

TS u tard, is joke live with it...vietnam dog comes in tin fyi.

TS said:
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 @ 11:44 AM

I don't care if it was a joke. The comments made by nicky b and paulf should not have been posted, and should be removed. Its not funny.

ChrisM said:
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 11:08 AM

Is there no cooking involved ??

Rustum longpig said:
Friday, July 29, 2011 @ 3:46 PM

Just finished a run of chorizo and have them hanging in the Porch dripping. I used 1K pork belly 2oz smoked paprika a tsp salt and a tsp sugar a glass of wine vinegar and three cloves of garlic although I have a mincer I used a processor to blitz the ingredients to a coarse chilled consistency with the fat still clearly visible. Three foot of soaked beef runner and there y' go See at--

paulf said:
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 @ 8:48 PM

Yes, dog is an ideal alternative to pork. The rump works best.

Alberto said:
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 @ 8:03 PM

You can get it from the abattoir, too.
But there are still families killing the pig at home. It´s legal if a vet comes and the act of killing is made by a professional. So it is in Aragon, at least.

Jan said:
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 @ 7:07 PM

Thank you for that - really interesting! I love all the different types of chorizo. If, these days, the pigs now have to go to the abattoir for slaughter, how do the families collect the blood to make the "morcilla"?

Love morcilla!!

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