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Dry-Cured Spanish Chorizo (Castellano)

Dry-Cured Spanish Chorizo (Castellano)
March 22, 2015 Kyle Hildebrant

If there’s one thing chorizo is not, it is subtle. Pork, fat, garlic and pimentón. In copious amounts. Even in its most reserved incarnation, chorizo is bold. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for the subtleties of flavor in old-world Italian salami—but as an American, I approach things a bit differently. Big, bold, sour flavors. Summer sausages and pepperoni sticks. That’s the ‘salami’ of my youth. And that’s why I love chorizo. It’s unapologetic; a middle-finger to the understated and a kick in the mouth.

First, let’s establish that this is Spanish chorizo. Not Mexican chorizo, which is actually an evolution of the un-cooked, un-cured Spanish chorizo fresco—and if you were raised in the Southwest, as I, you’ve no doubt experienced a late-night encounter with a ‘berto’s chorizo breakfast burrito… but I digress.
As salami is a subset of salumi, chorizo is a subset of charcutería. And chorizo is to Spanish sausage as salami is to Italian sausage; that is to say, it’s a broad term which encompasses a host of different styles and permutations dictated by region, village and family.

Chorizo Castellano

Chorizo Castellano

Picadillo, fresco, semicurado, curado?

Chorizo can be broken into four categories: picadillo, fresco, semicurado, and curado.

Chorizo picadillo is a loose, ground-meat sausage that’s often fried and used similarly to a Mexican chorizo. Fresco, or fresh, is the same, but stuffed in a casing and cooked like as raw sausage. Semicurado, literally semi-cured, is as it sounds: fresco sausage that’s been cured/fermented, sometimes smoked, but not dried, and cooked like a fresh sausage. Curado, is as you may have guessed, cured. The chorizo the majority of us Americans are familiar with is chorizo curado, and such is the topic of this post.


At the heart of chorizo is pimentón. Pimentón is made from long, pointy, finger-width chili peppers. Pimentón, by another name, is paprika—but to call it such is a disservice. The stuff marketed in supermarkets as “Paprika”, “Smoked Paprika”, or even “Spanish Paprika” is flaccid, lifeless, dusty-tasting garbage and bears little semblance to the real thing—which is indeed something special.

Pimentón de Murcia and Pimentón de la Vera

Pimentón de la Vera

Pimentón de la Vera

There are primarily two types of pimentón: That from the city of Murcia; and that from the la Vera region of Spain.

The pimientos grown in Murcia are sun-dried, producing a mellower, more vegetal pimentón. The pimientos grown in  the la Vera region are dried by way of wood fire, which imparts the trademark smokey flavor associated with pimentón, and often marketed as “smoked paprika”.

Real pimentón is subject to DOP (Designation of Origin) protection, and often bears the labeling of “Denominación de Origen Protegida”, or the official seal of “Pimentón de la Vera”.

Dulce or Picante

Pimentón de la Vera is typically available in two levels of spiciness: dulce (sweet) and picante (hot/spicy), with the occasional bitter-sweet variety.


Tasting Brands of Pimentón de la Vera

There are several major brands and exporters of pimentón from the de la Vera region: Safinter, el Rey, La Chinata, Chiquilin, La Dalia and Santo Domingo are among the most notable. But which is best to make chorizo? No doubt a subjective answer, but driven by my curiosity, I set out to test them against each other. 

Pimentón de la Vera Taste Test

Popular brands of Pimentón de la Vera

We tested four major brands (above, from left to right): Safinter, el Rey, La Chinata, and Chiquilin; each in their respective dulce and picante offerings.

The chorizo (recipe below) contained, by weight of meat: 2% dulce and 0.5% picante. All other ingredients, preparation, fermentation and drying were identical. 

I asked 10 different people, several on multiple occasions, to test the four different brands and indicate a preference. Tests were conducted with a triangle test methodology, where individuals are presented three samples, two of which are identical and one of which is different. Tasters are asked to identify the odd sample and indicate a preference. Samples are randomized.

The Unscientific Conclusion?

You cannot tell the difference of brands of pimentón de la Vera in a chorizo.

Not enough people were able to identify the different sample, and several of those that did, indicated at a later date, a different preference than expressed earlier. The preference appeared arbitrary. 

Granted, my sampling was certainly not large enough to make any real assertions. Moreover, the results would be difficult to interpret because I have more than two samples. But I think it’s safe to say that it’s difficult to tell a difference among brands. If I had easy access to a larger panel of tasters, and limited the samples to two brands, then I would guess that you may be able to determine a preference. But as taste is very much a subjective matter, it may be a moot point. As for this exercise, there was no clear winner. 

Spanish chorizo pimentón taste test

Spanish chorizo pimentón taste test

The following assumes a basic understanding and experience making salami or fermented, dry-cured sausages. If you are new to making salami, I would strongly suggest you first read The Art of Making Fermented Sausages, as it’s the best reference on the topic.

Choose Your Own Heat

Personally, I like a bit of heat—really, I like a lot of heat. As for the recipe here, it makes a chorizo that is mild-to-medium, in my opinion. Maybe that’s a solid medium if you’re a bit of a wuss. Feel free to change it up by adjusting the levels of picante or dulce pimentón; just keep to total of the two at 2.5% total.

Matters of Meat

Cuts that are typical used in chorizo are the cabecero (coppa; the muscle running from the neck to the 4th or 5th rib of the pork shoulder), the lomo (pork loin), the papada (pork jowl), the panceta (pork belly), occasionally beef brisket or chuck, and always tocino (pork back fat).1

While it’s easy to isolate these specific cuts when butchering your own pig, it’s not as easy to procure a cut like cabecero/coppa from your local butcher. Pork shoulder (and the Boston butt) are cuts which are much easier to find. The shoulder also typically has around 20-25% fat. A shoulder, by itself, with 25% fat, will make a perfectly good salami. As for chorizo, you should aim for a fat level of 30-40%. I’ve found that the added fat helps to offset the potentially grainy, dry texture that is possible with the large amounts of pimentón. Always use back fat. Belly fat is too soft. Chorizo made with 25% fat is good. Chorizo made with 35-40% fat is great.


Much like cuts of meat, casings for chorizo vary. Natural casing are the only choice, in my mind. For the iconic, looped (sarta) chorizo, you may use 35-50mm hog casings, or 50-60mm beef middles. In my opinion, beef middles are far superior to hog for dried salami. Hog middles are better suited for cooked sausage. For straight, un-looped, 50-60mm beef middles are excellent as well. Occasionally hog or beef bungs are used for large diameter chorizo.

Further Reading

For further reading on the topic of Chorizo, and Spanish food in general, I would highly recommend Charcutería: The Soul of Spain by Jeffrey Weiss

40-50mm casings; a mix of chorizo and salami

40-50mm casings; a mix of chorizo and salami

 Special Ingredients Needed:

  1. Insta Cure #2 (also called Prague Powder #2, DQ Curing Salt #2, or TCM #2). Nitrate/nitrite is a necessity when creating salami. To forgo it’s inclusion, is to risk Botulism, Listeria and other potentially deadly illnesses.
  2. Demerara sugar (also called turbinado sugar). Demerara sugar is a large-grained, somewhat crunchy, raw sugar. It’s light brown, partially refined sugar produced from the first crystallization during processing cane juice into sugar crystals. Demerara is used in this recipe to impart a slight caramel flavor.
  3. Dextrose (also called glucose). Dextrose is used here specifically as a food source for the starter culture.
  4. Pimentón de la Vera; sweet and picante. Buy your favorite brand, or whatever brand you can find. Just use authentic pimentón from the de la Vera region.
  5. SafePro® B-LC-007 starter culture. B-LC-007 is a “Bio protective, Listeria Control” starter culture, capable of acidification and designed to prevent growth of Listeria. If you’re familiar with Bactoferm® T-SPX (both from the same company), the finished profile is very similar. Both are designed for low-acid, old-world style flavor profiles; while B-LC-007 has the added benefit of increased safety as well as additional bacteria and yeasts for flavor development.
  6. Casings. For Sarta or Achorizado, use 50mm Beef Rounds; for Cular, use a Beef Bung.1


Detail of Chorizo with Mold in Drying Chamber

Detail of chorizo with mold in drying chamber

Spanish Chorizo (Castellano) Recipe


% of Meat weight

Pork Shoulder (85%) + Back Fat
Sea Salt 2.5%
Insta Cure #2 0.25%
Demerara 0.3%
Dextrose (Glucose) 0.4%
Sweet (dulce) Pimentón de la Vera 2.0%
Hot (picante) Pimentón de la Vera 0.5%
Garlic, fresh, minced fine 1.0%
Oregano, dried 0.2%
Dry White Wine (Spanish) 5.0%
SafePro® B-LC-007 Starter Culture 0.1%
30-50mm Beef Middle Casings N/A

Worksheet Download

Download the Chorizo recipe Worksheet in printable, PDF format:
Chorizo Castellano Worksheet

  1. Make mold solution approx. 12 hours in advance:
    Dissolve 2.5g of Bactoferm® Mold 600 (Penicillium nalgiovense) in 200mL of room-temperature, chlorine-free distilled water; hold for 12 hours
  2. Dilute mold solution to 1 Liter of chlorine-free distilled water; reserve
  3. Rinse casings very well under running water
  4. Soak the casings in mold solution; reserve at room temperature until ready to use
  5. Dissolve starter culture into 35mL of room-temperature, distilled water, for every 2.5kg (5.5lbs) of meat; allow to hydrate for 30+ minutes
  6. Weigh out salt, Cure #2, demerara and dextrose; grind together in spice grinder
  7. Cut pork should and back fat into approx. 1″ cubes
  8. Mix salt, sugar and cure mixture into cubed meat; transfer meat to freezer; freeze until partially—but not completely—frozen
  9. Weigh out spices; combine hot and sweet pimentón and oregano, grind together in spice grinder; reserve garlic
  10. Weigh out white wine; reserve
  11. Mix spice mixture, garlic and starter culture into par-frozen cubed meat
  12. Grind par-frozen meat once through 7–8mm die
  13. Mix thoroughly by hand, incorporating wine; mix until meat becomes sticky, indicating a good bind, and forming a paste; if more bind is needed, meat can be paddled in stand mixer for 20-30 seconds; being careful to not over-mix
  14. Transfer meat paste to stuffer; force down to remove any air pockets
  15. Stuff in mold-soaked casings; tie off ends and segment as desired
  16. Prick the sausage casing evenly to facilitate drying
  17. Weigh each chorizo and record weight (“Green Weight”)
  18. Ferment salami at 65-75°F (18-24°C) in 90% relative humidity until a pH reading of 5.3 or lower is achieved; 24 hours is typical with B-LC-007
  19. Transfer chorizo to drying chamber; dry at 55–60°F (13-16°C), while maintaining 80-85% relative humidity for first week or two, then 75% humidity for final drying
  20. Dry until at least 35% of green weight is lost; 50% loss is typical for a firmer chorizo

1. Weiss, Jeffrey. Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain. 2014.

Our Daily Brine is my personal journal of food exploration and experimentation; covering topics of fermentation, preservation, salumi and all things charcuterie. I appreciate your part in this journey. Please comment, ask questions, offer criticism, or simply say hello.


  1. Author
    Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

    Questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Mike 7 years ago

      I have been fermenting my fist batch of chorizo, but am worried …how do I know if it’s safe to eat…it smells ok, looks reasonable, although clearly centre is more moist… Don’t want to poison myself ;0)


      • Author
        Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

        Mike, there’s no way I can answer that question without an understanding of what you have done. If you’d like help, you have to provide very specific details.

        • Mike 7 years ago

          Thanks Kyle, I’ll come back to you with further detail. In the interim, cooking of the sausage in a dish presumably kills off any nasties?


        • Mike 7 years ago

          Ok so recipe:-
          5kg of pork
          125g curing salt
          Praprikas -145g hot, 75g sweet, 20g cayenne
          50g toasted fennel seeds
          10 garlic cloves
          Glass of red wine
          1g blesses tart
          50mm beef casings

          Two days at around 15-20’c’ 80% humidity.

          Then there on much cooler…typically 10’c

          I do have an issue as I live on a narrow boat do temperature whilst typically around 10’c, has crept up to 28’c max, 1’c minimum. Humidity from 28 to 98.

          So can I make it safe through cooking?

          Can send picture of cut sausage if that’s useful?

          • Mike 7 years ago

            Blessed tart should be Bessemer starter ;0)

          • Author
            Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

            Mike, I’m sorry, I simply cannot provide advice or guidance for someone else’s recipe. I don’t know what curing salt you’ve used and I’m not familiar with Bessemer starter. I’m happy to provide folks with help on recipes I post. I’d suggest you reach out to the author directly.

        • Mike 7 years ago

          Thanks Kyle…I’m trying your recipe next…..

          But presumably if I cook what I will be safe?


          • Author
            Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

            Mike — That’s not something I can tell you for certain. To know with absolute certainty that something is “safe”, you would need to have it tested. That said, I can tell you this: You indicated that you used a cure, presumably sodium nitrite or nitrate? Cooking and eating something made with Cure #2 (nitrate and nitrite), before the nitrate has had a chance to convert to nitrite, is not good for you, according to the FDA. This is why nitrates are not used in bacon, instead nitrites are. You can look into this, depending on what you used, and make a call. Second, salmonella is one of the harder bugs to kill. You can use this chart to assess the time and temperature necessary to kill that. This can be done sous vide (easiest to not overcook) or traditionally. Hope that helps.

      • Jonggina 6 years ago


      • Susana 8 months ago

        Hi m just wondering how many months does the chorizo take to lose 50% of its weight roughly

    • Ben ravida 7 years ago

      I see your posts on Sausage Debauchery you do very nice work. I copied this recipe and just put it in my curing chamber about an hour ago. Your photos look fantastic. I hope mine comes out as good as yours. I will let you know. Can’t wait.
      I used to make all these great salamis in upstate NY. Been in Florida for 7 years nows. Turned a refrigerator into a curing chamber in my garage. My neighbors think I’am nuts, but they sure love the product. Having lots of fun doing it and trying to explain the process to friends. Nice talking to you.

      • Author
        Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

        Thanks, Ben. I appreciate the kind words. I look forward to hearing how it goes. You should post your results here:, as well as in Sausage Debauchery. Everyone always thinks it’s crazy, but no one has any problems eating it. ;)

        • Ben ravida 7 years ago

          Wow! pulled the chorizo today using your recipe . Fantastic, the best chorizo I ever made. Great flavors of garlic and peppers. I used the Chiquilin hot paprika. Nice and spicey but not to hot. Great reviews from wife and neighbors. I made 10 lbs, more the next time. Finished in 28 days, 42 percent weight loss.The way I like it.
          I don’t know how to post my photos from me phone on this site but I will post them on Debauchery. Thanks again.

          • Author
            Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

            Ben. Very happy to hear it. Saw the photos in the group. It looks like it turned out well.

    • Mike 7 years ago


      In the UK, getting the mold culture is very difficult…any suggestions for alternative?



      • Meic 7 years ago

        Try or over the web. The culture is generally referred to under salami rather than chorizo, but I think the principle is the same

    • Andy 2 years ago

      Thought I knew how to make chorizo……..

    • Taylor Trudell 1 year ago

      Hi Kyle, I’m interested in curing chorizo but my question is: how do I achieve and maintain the environments listed above? Cool temps and high humidity.. I was thinking of using an old wine fridge because I know the temp will be right but how can I be sure about the humidity? Is there a device I can purchase to gage humidity? Once I get an understanding of where I’m at, how do I increase that level? Thanks for your help!

    • Susana 1 year ago

      Hi I’m from Australia, I cannot get this SafePro® B-LC-007 starter culture. B-LC-007 is a “Bio protective, they only sell to the US, what else can i use?

  2. Marc 8 years ago

    I will absolutely recreate this in upcoming couple weeks. Need something new with some big flavors. I have a “sewn after-end” though that I’ve not tried before and we’ve wondered which ground and dried product we should do first. Every other item listed exactly on hand, as well as 007 for first time. I think we’ll use equal hot and sweet. Thanks for the great post. You’re happy with the salt %?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Excellent. Be sure to let me know how it turns out. And yes, happy with the salt. I typically use 2.5% salt + .75% 0.25% (in Cure #2) in salami. Is that more than you normally use? Also, you’re going to like 007. Just watch it, it is fast. 24hours is typical with B-LC-007

  3. Marc 8 years ago

    Do you mean .25% I’ve only done whole muscle yet and mostly 3% salt + .25% #2. Just from what I have practical exp with, I feel that 2.5 is probably lower than I would use but only because I’m ok with the whole muscle projects so far. I plan to follow yours to the detail. 007 was suggested when I bought stuff from Evan and I see it more now that I’m paying attention. This will be our first ground product and first time with meat culture, but we know our box is tuned in now. We’re ready to make the jump.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Sorry, yes. Typo. 0.25% Cure #2. Congrats on the first go! That’s always an exciting proposition. Looking forward to seeing the results.

  4. Jason Morgan 8 years ago

    Great work Kyle. Makes my mouth water. Really love your attention to detail on everything… from the production of these fine pieces… to the time you take to shoot and document everything. I love the new format and also appreciate you sharing your recipes and process. It just doesn’t get any better.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Thanks, Jason. I really appreciate the kind words. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Matt levere 8 years ago

    Hey Kyle,
    This is a great recipe! Question for you, do you rinse the casing in distilled water? If not, would the tap water effect the mold solution to prohibit its full growth potential?


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Matt — No need to rinse in distilled water. Tap water is perfectly fine. If there’s chlorine in your tap water (assuming that’s the concern), there’s not enough residual water from the rinsing to do any harm to the mold solution. You would need a fair amount to kill the mold.

  6. mrtexas 8 years ago

    Not that I have compared it to anything but I have used generic smoked spanish pimenton
    from Penzeys and it had a good flavor. Thanks for the comparison.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      I’ve had the stuff from Penzey’s. It’s not bad, but it’s not really great, either. It’s “Spanish-style” paprika. Get your hands on some real paprika from Spain. The cost is about the same, or even less than what Penzey’s sells their stuff for. Give it a go.

  7. matt 8 years ago

    What do you use for a drying chamber?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Matt, I have converted a cooler (refrigerator) into a drying chamber. Using a dual temperature and humidity controller and an ultrasonic humidifier, you are able to get the temp to 55F and keep the humidity where you need it (typically between 70-80% RH). I’ll be posting a guide on how to do this in the coming month, but if you google it there are a few references out there.

      • Mitch 7 years ago

        So you use the humidity controller to turn the humidifier on and off and a heathing element to maintain temp? How do you keep it from getting too humid? I suppose you could use the same rig as a smoker too.

  8. Matt L 8 years ago

    Hey Kyle,
    Thanks for the response to the tap water question. I tried a very similar chorizo recipe to yours and it came out great. One thing I’ve noticed though is now that there is a nice layer of white mold on the outside there is an orange mold (just a little bit and spotty) forming on the outside of the white mold. I honestly can’t tell if it is paprika purging out or if it is bad mold. Its looks very similar to front page picture of your chorizo Chiquilin. Either way I’ve tried it and it taste great. Let me know what you think, thanks for your time.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      You’ve identified it. The first time that happened to me, it freaked me out too. Chorizo and other salami that have large amounts of chilis/pimenton/paprika will start to seep out toward the end of drying. This is usually mixed with a bit of water and/or fat, which in turns mixes whith the mold and makes what looks like patches of red/orange mold (which are indeed bad molds). But you have nothing to fear, it’s to be expected with chorizo.

  9. RJ Pfister 8 years ago

    Is there such a thing as smoked chorizo? Dry cured, still. But smoked post fermentation and prior to drying?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Absolutely. Are you looking for a specific recipe? I actually smoked half of the last batch of this ration here. You can cold smoke post ferment, or smoke during ferment. You just need to ensure you have a good amount of humidity when you do, or you’ll end up with case hardening.

  10. Martin 8 years ago

    Hi Kyle,

    What do you use to prick the salami? Ordinary needle?

    Martin from Sweden

  11. Mike 8 years ago

    Hi Kyle

    Firstly, thanks for the awesome post. This really is great, and has kicked me into action.

    Have you used beef bungs be chorizo before? What would one do differently in the drying stage? I imagine this may take longer to get the texture right. I’ve done a good number of single muscle cured meats using bungs, and always need about three weeks resting to allow the slight case hardening to even out. Would one need something similar for cular? I’ve got a similar setup for drying that you referred to, humidity well managed.


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Mike, Happy to have you here. Thanks for the kind words. I have used beef bungs for chorizo (and several other large diameter salami). There’s really nothing to do differently in drying. You may consider a higher humidity. I usually keep my chamber at 80-81%RH. Honestly, I think that large diameter salami is more forgiving than whole muscles—as far as the whole “case hardening” thing goes. It’s been my experience that the salami dries more evenly. I’d just suggest you go for it. If you do get a bit hard around the edges, you can always vac seal for a bit. I think you’ll find it’s easier than you thought. Let me know how it turns out. (folks often post pics on the ODB Facebook page)

      • Mike 8 years ago

        So, the first batch of chorizo is fermenting. Winter here in South Africa, so I’m also trying out the sous vide fermentation method. I’ll put some pics on the Facebook page once I’ve got them hanging.

  12. Ian Sharp 8 years ago

    Hi Kyle. Thanks for the great post!

    Question regarding process: Why do you add the spices at two different times?

    Material: Is the twine you’re using baker’s twine? If so, is it poly-cotton or 100% cotton?

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  13. I love seeing all of your crazy awesome food experiments/products, Kyle! You’ve got such a scientific approach to it, which I guess makes sense given what you’re doing here! Anyway, just wanted to stop by and say this looks awesome. I’ve never made my own chorizo before but you’re reallllllly tempting me here!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 8 years ago

      Thanks so much, Brooke! Not sure how I missed this comment until now. See you around sometime?!

  14. Norma 8 years ago

    great articles…

  15. Charlie6 7 years ago

    I am looking forward to a great experience producing really good chorizo. I have experience drying sausages, some whole muscle also. The results have been largely good, could be better. Along the way I have acquired equipment, supplies and a ‘facility’ ( my basement). All of that is ‘good – could be better’. Recently enjoyed a charcuterie plate and my wife focused on the chorizo, liked it a lot which caused me to plan to produce a batch. Until finding the DAILY BRINE site I have been, for a long time ambivalent about tackling chorizo. I was puzzled by my ambivalence and stymied into inaction. Perhaps I have been confused by the Mexican style renderings I have had. I am feeling more clearly about it now. Especially encouraging is the emphasis on good “pimenta”, particularly and more generally on the Spanish orientation. I think I recognize here the skills and the commitment upon which I can rely for guidance. I have available a good pork store from which I can get good back fat, coppa and other meats as well. I need first to acquire some starter culture and I have on hand a white mold to mix and apply. I will make some adjustments to my ‘facility’ to provide a lower temperature than I am now getting with the warmer weather, then it will be time to begin. I have a level of confidence at this point acquired from the information found here. Thank you.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Sounds great. Good luck! Shoot for a higher humidity if you can. Longer and slower will render a better product, and will avoid over-drying the exterior. This is an excellent starter culture of you are in the market:

      • Adrián Thompson 7 years ago

        Hi Kyle, im from Chiapas, Mexico,my name is Adrián Thompson, sorry for my english jaja, i have a problem with a starter for spanish embutidos, in my place is a really big figth to find these products, i talk to bactoferm or whearever culture, my questión is ,do you know other form to agree the fermenting starter of benefit bacteria to embutidos? I hope you help me friend, i think agree a mexican product to the farse, his name is Yakult, this is a type of ferment lactic productos and is contain a “lactic basilus cassei shirota”, what do you tink about this? I hope you can help me, have a very good day friend.

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

          Email me using the contact form here. I’ll see if I can find someone to help you. I gave a guy that may be able to shop to you.

  16. Ed McMilton 7 years ago

    Every now and then you can find imported paprika at TJ MAXX — the low end dumping store. I found some very nice El Avion brand smoked hot paprika there for $3 a tin. Very tasty stuff.

  17. Antoniy Petkov 7 years ago

    Hi Kyle,
    I have been doing your recipe for quite a while now, but just noticed now that you soak the casing in Mold 600 solution. I guess I did not read thoroughly first time. I usually spray the mold solution once the salami is stuffed and get a great result as the chamber is inoculated already. Does your method contribute to overall taste, since there will be some mold spores on inside the casing, or it is negligible as it cannot form on inside?
    I will appreciate you feed back. Thanks!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago


      Happy to hear that. How do you like it? As for soaking the casings: You can spray it as well. I find that soaking provides more mold coverage and a better bloom for me. Either is fine. If you are using B-LC-007 for a culture, there may be added benefit in soaking, from a flavor standpoint. It contains flavor-enhancing yeasts, and this should get this in more direct contact with the meat; where spraying may not. I’ve not tested the different between the two, but it seems a logical hypothesis.

      • Antoniy 7 years ago

        Thanks Kyle! I like the recipe as it fits my taste and we use lots of chirizo in the summer when I cook Paella Mista and good Spanish choriso is one of the main indigence. One thing that I am still trying and researching is the substitute of fresh garlic with garlic powder. I found using fresh garlic as very inconsistent, depending on the quality of the garlic. Sometimes same store I use have different supplier or batch and chorizo is not consistent, given everything else is the same. I do make lots of Salami di Varzi that requires garlic and I experience same thing, inconsistency of garlic present. Have you tried granulated garlic powder? I guess I can make few batches with different amounts of garlic powder and find the best doze. I was just wandering to hear another opinion… I will appreciate you feed back. Thanks!

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

          Antoniy, The pungency of garlic can certainly vary quite a bit. You can easily use garlic powder. I don’t have an exact amount to give you, but you may try upping the percentage a bit from what is here, being that powder is not as potent.

  18. Albert Fontes 7 years ago

    Have you ever used the UMAI Dry Bags for Spanish style chorizo?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      I don’t have any love for UMAI bags. Maybe there’s an application for dry-aging steaks (I’m still not convinced), but for salumi I think they are garbage. If one wants to make salumi, then one should have an environment that is controlled enough to do so.

      • Robert Henderson 3 years ago

        I know this is an old post but reading through your comments I felt like adding to your post. I’m always surprised by people’s attitudes towards umai bags. It seems like an easy way for people to get started curing meats and build an interest to see if they are comfortable doing it, before making a full commitment to making a curing chamber and investing time and energy into something that they are unfamiliar with or not sure if they will stick with. So far I have made a few recipes with umai, they turned out alright, and I am happy with the end product. Next step for me will be to make a real curing chamber with temp control and humidity control.

        • Spanner737 3 years ago

          Maybe not a good analogy but here I go: I used to brew beer and I used grains only and no extracts. I, too, was surprised by the attitudes some had towards the extract brewers. I tasted many fine beers that were made with malt extract. It boiled down to (in my opinion) being a beer snob.

  19. Kem 7 years ago

    Hi Kyle

    is it possible to make a pork free dry cured chorizo? if yes what cuts of meat (beef) to use? i have had 100% wagyu chorizo when i used to live in the uk but i cant get them in Turkey.

    theres a link of the 100% wagyu chorizo

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Kem, It is possible to make any sort of salami with meat other than pork. In many cases pork fat (lard) is often added to the other meat. For instance, if using wild game, like venison which is naturally very lean, lard may be added to increase the fat content. If your desire is to avoid pork altogether (say, for a kosher or halal salami) then you may look to beef fat (suet). The reason you see many of the beef salami made with wagyu is because wagyu is very high in fat—and you need a larger percentage (20-30%) of fat for salami. Historically beef fat was avoided because it goes rancid much more quickly than pork fat. With modern-day antioxidants, like nitrite and sodium ascorbate, you can more easily slow the rate of rancidity in beef fats. So if you’re considering a beef salami, I would also look to adding sodium ascorbate and even rosemary oil. Hope that’s helpful.

      • Kem 7 years ago

        but is it best to use very lean beef + 20% of beef suet fat or for example beef short ribs that has already a fat content of 15% + 5% of beef suet fat? i can also get lamb tail fat in Turkey its very similar to pork back fat.

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

          Kem, It make no difference if the fat is inherent to the muscle or added. Perfectly fine to consider a cut like short ribs then boost them with other fat. You might aim more toward 30% total fat though. 20% is pretty lean for salami. I have no experience with lamb-tail fat. Lamb fat is typically pretty gamey, so you amy take the flavor into account. Worth experimenting with at least. I’d just consider an additional antioxidant for use with beef.

          • Kem 7 years ago

            e300, e301 or e316 whats the best to use as antioxidant?

            thanx for your time and help :)

          • Author
            Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

            More info here: — I’m not certain on those differences. Follow a proper recipe for its inclusion. I don’t have reference in front of me now, but I know you cannot mix ascorbate and nitrites at same time, as they create a reaction and dangerous fumes. If you can’t find the right info, let me know and I’ll dig it up. I know The Art of Fermented Sausages has info on it.

  20. Kem 7 years ago

    i googled it and found that you cant mix e300 with nitrites but you can mix e301 with nitrites

    so e301 is the way to go

    i also read that 1/3 of the fat content in a dry cured sausage can be replaced with olive oil.

    thanx for your time.

    E300 Ascorbic acid
    E301 Sodium ascorbate

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Do be cautious. That nitrogen created by mixing the others can be deadly. If you use olive oil, let me know how it is. I can’t imagine that would be good. You want your fat to be hard.

  21. mcl 7 years ago

    Tj Max is a regular check for me also

  22. Kadri 7 years ago

    Can I do chorizo sausages without SafePro® B-LC-007 starter culture?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Kadri — First, allow me to answer your question with a question: Can you drive a car without a seatbelt? Sure. You can. Should you? No. There’s no reason not to, outside of arrogance.

      That said, anytime we consume food we assume a certain level of risk. For those that eat undercooked eggs there’s a slightly greater risk of salmonella. But with salami, and dried sausage in general, those risks are exponentially greater.

      Depending on the composition of the sausage (e.g. pork-based, beef, chicken, etc.) the bacterial risks are different. For example, e.coli is a greater risk in salami containing beef, than a pork-only salami, while listeria monocytogenes are a major concern with all types of salami. Botulism is another serious concern. In fact, if you trace the etymology of botulism, it’s based on the Latin word for sausage “botulus”, which Germans later adapted to “botulismus”, which translates to “sausage poisoning”.

      That understood, there are four major factors—waht can be referred to as safety hurdles—to consider in making safer-to-eat salami. Salt, acidification, bio-protective bacteria (good bugs) and water activity (aW). Without going into the specifics of each, the combination of these safety hurdles reduces risks associated with food-borne illness. They make salami safer to eat.

      Back to the car metaphor: A seatbelt does not ensure your safety in the event of a crash, but it’s been widely proven and accepted that it ensures a significant mitigation of the risk of injury in the event of a crash. In the same way, we employ various safety hurdles to reduce the risks inherent in eating salami.

      Starter cultures address two roles, potentially:
      (1) Some of the cultures are used for acidification. The lactic acid-producing bacteria are fed by the sugar we add. One of their by-products is lactic acid. We measure this by pH. As the acid increases, the pH decreases. A lower pH inhibits bad-bacterial growth and allows the salami to reach it’s next hurdle (water activity) by drying out over time, without the bad bacteria continuing to multiplying.
      (2) Some cultures, like the B-LC-007 referenced, have an added layer of protection commonly referred to as bio-protection. This culture produces pediocin and bavaricin, which you could think of as antibiotics, that keeps Listeria monocytogenes, specifically, at safe levels. The “LC” in B-LC-007 stands for listeria control.

      Those with a solid understanding of the science are able to employ different hurdles at different levels—say, less acidifications and more drying—to achieve a safe end result.

      But this brings me back to your original question: “Can I do chorizo sausages without SafePro® B-LC-007 starter culture?”. You can drive a car without a seatbelt. Should you? No. The same applies to using starter cultures.

      There’s always an ongoing argument with those citing “my grandfather did this for years with only salt and time!”. And that may certainly be true. Many people made salami without specifically introduced cultures. There are naturally-occurring lactic acid bacteria in the meat and environment, it’s more of understanding what’s being introduced and controlling it (the start culture). But the reality is this: many people died, too. So many, in fact, that botulism was named after sausage poisoning.

      In my opinion, make salami without starter cultures if you solely assume that risk. Meaning, only you eat the salami. But when you feed that salami to others—like your wife, or children, or friends—then you have an obligation to do so responsibly and without exposing those people to undue risk. Just like food-service workers have an obligation to wash their hands after using the bathroom. To expose people to unnecessary risk is arrogant and irresponsible.

      • Will 2 years ago

        Hi Kyle.

        Thanks for giving such detailed advice about making chorizo. I’m just starting out and am planning to maybe try doing my own batch.

        I’ve been making a lot of miso pastes over the last year or so and have gotten fairly confident with growing koji. I was wondering if you can swap the starter culture for aspergillus species instead? Or is that a bad and unsafe idea? Maybe in combination?

  23. Bec Van Gemert 7 years ago

    Hi Kyle, love your site. We are struggling to find a specific hot smoked chorizo recipe – help!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Bec —

      You could modify this recipe to work for hot-smoking.
      First, replace Cure #2 with Cure #1 (only nitrite). You do not want to use #2 if you are cooking this and not drying it over time.
      You may reduce the salt to 1.75% for fresh sausage.
      Third, I would still suggest a fermentation stage. Maybe start the temp at 70F and slowly bring up over a couple days to your cooked temp. The fermentation will allow for flavor development. Or smoke at 70F for a day, then hot smoke at your desired temp for another day.

      • Rene Boudreaux 4 years ago

        Is there a certain temp that needs to be reach to ensure it is safe ?

        • Author
          Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

          Safety is a matter of multiple steps, not heat. Salt is a step. Nitrate is a step. Fermentation is a step. Drying is a step.

          The temperature is dictated by the starter culture that you use. You should follow the instructions on the starter culture. Some cultures are intended to ferment at ambient room temperatures, while others are intended to be faster and work at hotter temperatures.

  24. Mike 7 years ago

    Hi Mike

    I’m in South Africa, its far more difficult, so I cheat.

    For mold, I buy a good quality small salami from a shop, with some good looking told. I soak the skin in some warm water, and use that as a mold starter with great success. Keep some of your skin for next time.

    For culture, I use an pro-biotic supplement, which you can get at chemists, health shops etc. This contains acidopholous etc, and works like a charm. I use ph strips to make sure the acidity drops correctly, as well as my nose to make sure it’s not going off. I ferment under water at 24 deg in a sous vide machine (a probable sous vide in a cooler box) for 72 hours. I also put a few small packets in, to test each day to confirm the process is working well.

    As Kyle mentioned, friends and family only (after I’ve eaten some first). No stomach issues from anyone so far, and I’ve done three batches of salami and chorizo.

    Good luck


  25. Eduardo 7 years ago

    Hi, Mike
    I’m from Brazil and here is hard to find cultures, but I have found the Bactoferm® T-SPX, can I use this on this Chorizo Recipe?Thanks a lot.

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Eduardo, T-SPX will work just as well. You can use it in the exact same way as specified here. Your fermentation temperature is a bit lower for T-SPX though.

  26. Eduardo 7 years ago

    Hello, Kyle. Which temperature do you suggest using T-SPX and for how much time? Is it possible to ferment it with a temperature around 15-16C? Thank you!

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 7 years ago

      Bactoferm® T-SPX is for slow/mild acidification. It assists in moisture removal and the breaking down of Nitrate into Nitrite for more efficient curing. If using T-SPX for traditional method of drying this culture will not provide food safety through lowering pH level but, it will help lower aW. Use for products needing at least one month’s time for drying and do not ferment with this product over 75°F. (From manufacturer). I would also point you Fermented Sausages book, if you do not already have it. It has a lot of great information on T-SPX and other cultures. If you’re new to salami, I would strongly suggest you purchase and read that book.

  27. Gustad Mody 6 years ago


    You recommended The Art of Making Fermented Sausages as an intro. Have you read some of the other more popular books? Do you mind explaining why you like this better?

    Thanks and looking forward to come more cured sausage recipes from you!

  28. Andrew 6 years ago

    Hello Kyle, Testing the Ph. Is that surface pH or do you cut into a chorizo to check pH
    Ta Andrew

  29. Kap Sook Son 6 years ago

    Could this recipe be used to make a fresh style chorizo sausage?

  30. Reg 6 years ago

    Kyle just ran across your site yesterday, great job. I have just started to go through the site and ended up on this particular post first because I was looking for an authentic chorizo sausage and yours seems to fit that bill.

    Have been making sausages for many years and our styles are very similar as are our concerns about food safety which is sometimes very difficult to get across to the new sausage maker. On this subject you are doing a GREAT job.


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Reg, I appreciate it. Let me know how it turns out.

      • Reg Pelletier 5 years ago

        Kyle the sausage turned out great, some I smoked some not, to me the smoked were the best.

  31. Reddal 6 years ago


    I tried following the recipe – with 2 changes : a) I used Bessastart starter culture ( as it was the closest thing I could work out how to buy in the UK, b) I didn’t use any mold solution (couldn’t find it at all).

    I fermented for 24 hours at 22c, 90% rH, then turned the chamber down to 13c, 82% rH. After 5 days of that (6 days total) I notice some mold that looks a bit worrying. I removed them and wiped off the mold with vinegar. Here is what they looked like :

    Do you think I should bin this batch? Is this inevitable without the mold solution? Is the Bessastart culture appropriate? Did the Any advice gratefully received.


    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      I’m sorry, Reddal. I know nothing about that culture. Not sure what it contains. As for the mold, I’d simply wipe off those brown spots. Use a 50/50 vinegar water mix. It’s not going to hurt anything.

  32. John H. 6 years ago

    Hi Kyle! Thanks so much for posting all these great recipes and how-to’s. Your blog has helped me so much in my Charcuterie, and taken my quest to the next level. I just pulled my Elk Chorizo from the chamber based on this recipe and it came out much better than I expected – Keep up the good work sir and kudos to you my friend!

    Spanish Elk Chorizo:

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      John, I appreciate the words of encouragement. Thank you. Your chorizo is looking great.

  33. Kris Oszast 6 years ago

    Hi Kyle,I have braseola in my dry chamber ( 55F and 75%) over one week. Some white hairy points of mold is on. I used balsamic vinegar for clean. Can I now increase temperature ( up to 85 F) for application of Bactoferm Mold-600? This culture need this temperature for 3 days. Maybe is to late for this ?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Don’t use balsamic vinegar. It has a huge amount of sugar content, not to mention it’s just expensive, even for the cheaper stuff. Use plain white vinegar. As for your process, you’re going about it backwards. First, it’s not really necessary to ferment a whole muscle. Though you can, that gets into a more nuanced process/discussion. If casing your whole muscles—a good idea, when possible—you can just dip the casing in the mold solution. Then hang the muscle in your drying chamber. That’s about it. The mold will grow faster at the higher temps, and it can be easier to start with a bit warmer temp, then lower, but neither are necessary. It’s still going to grow regardless. Not sure what recipe/method you used.

  34. Rupert 6 years ago

    I used a bonnza chorizo kit, I have no curing chamber and don’t now how humid the room is. It’s finished it’s recomended four weeks and it’s slightly pinker in the middle and softer, is this safe to eat, do you suggest leaving it longer?

  35. Jason Thomas 6 years ago

    Will a basement work or do you have to have a humitiy controlled chamber? How were sausages made back in the day before chambers? Would smaller links be easier to do without a humidity controlled chamber

  36. Paul 6 years ago

    Hello Kyle,

    Great recipe and great step by step info. I’m following your recipe and technique, except I substituted the pork for beef chuck and the back fat for beef flank fat, and after only 18 hours of fermentation (using B-LC-007 culture) at 70 degrees F and 90% relative humidity my chorizo is at a 4.8pH. Could this dramatic drop in pH be due to the beef substitution and do you think this will affect the finished product?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 6 years ago

      Thanks, Paul. As for the fast drop: 007 is a very fast acting culture. That’s maybe a bit faster than I would expect, but certainly isn’t going to harm anything. I’d pull it out of ferment and getting in the cooler drying chamber. I’m also finding that the sugar content of paprika can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. I may revise this recipe in the future to use a bit less sugar to compensate for the residual sugars in the paprika (pimenton). Another question would be to how accurate your pH meter/strips are. Being off a couple points is not uncommon if your are not diligent about cleaning, storage and calibration. Either way, the worst thing that can happen here is that your chorizo is a bit on the sour side. Which I don’t mind at all.

  37. Paul 6 years ago

    Thanks for the quick reply Kyle. I used the El Rey Pimenton (the second one in your picture), and my pH meter is a Milwaukee MW102 with a meat probe. I calibrated it just before I tested the chorizo, and when I saw the low pH I cleaned it and put it back in each of the calibration solutions just to check it and it was spot on. I don’t mind a more sour salami either so hopefully this will turn out good. Thanks again for your time.

  38. Nelson 5 years ago

    This looks like a really good recipe. I notice that you soak the casings in the mold solution as opposed to spraying the solution onto the sausages after they’ve been stuffed which is what I have normally done. Will this not give you mold inside the casing as well as outside, thus altering the taste?

  39. Did you ever revisit the sugar percentage in this recipe? Your total sugar is .7% as is which seems to go against the whole marianski not higher than .5% no less than. 3%. Thoughts?

  40. beerbrewer 5 years ago

    Great article and I particularly like the PDF worksheet. Thanks!

  41. Jose L Villa 4 years ago

    I will send you a Mexican (michoacan) recpipe when I get a chance. Why haven’t you posted anything new? Thanks for sharing your knowledge…

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

      Please do. That’d be great to see. I’ve been so busy. I have a few things queued up. Hoping to jump back in full force in 2019.

  42. Steve Ackley 4 years ago

    Curious– I just made this recipe and having not used this starter culture before I went to read up on it–albeit after the fact–and on the Butchers Pantry site is says “Use 0.022% the weight of the meat. Meaning, measure your meat in grams, then multiply the weight of your meat by 0.00022. This number is the proper amount of culture to add to you meat.” So you are using substantially more…any significance to that?

    • Author
      Kyle Hildebrant 4 years ago

      The amount of starter culture is less important. What’s important is that you have ENOUGH. The directions from the manufacturer say to use the entire packet, at least. It’s also a factor of how big the batch is. Evan at Butchers’ Pantry is typically doing 1000# sized batches at Tempesta Salumi. His number is more meaningful for large batches. Assuming your doing this on a small/home scale, you can use a lot more, relatively.

  43. Ben 4 years ago

    Kyle – thanks for this great step by step recipe. I packed my casing two days ago and they are in drying chamber 57f/85h. Curious how long it takes for the mold to start blooming. I soaked casing for a an hour at least, also dipped the tied off salamis into the mold water before hanging. Casings are more translucent today but no signs of mold yet. pH is 4.6 today on a spear tip meter. Does the bloom usually take 4 or 5 days? Thanks!

  44. Ben 4 years ago

    *answered my own question – took 3 days for bloom to start and mostly covered by the 4th. I’m interested in Patricks’s question above – would dropping to .5% sugar make a noticeable time difference to get to 5.3PH?

  45. Paul E Zorka 4 years ago

    Some say the sugar level is quite high on this recipe I made a 15 lb batch of it do I need to worry about it being too Tangy

  46. Ben 4 years ago

    I was on the low side of PH after ferment and pulled a couple chorizos @ 42% of green weight to sample. Definitely not tangy by any means so no need to worry – I have the other 8-9lbs going until 50% weight loss since I like a little more chew. Flavor was very balanced, interested to see how much more the flavor has concentrated by 50%

  47. Bardan 3 years ago

    I think most chorizo I have seen, commercial and homemade, had either very little or no mold on it.
    Is this not an artefact of salami/saucisson/fuet making?

  48. Harold Hubick 3 years ago

    I want to make 25 lbs dry cured Spanish chorizo can you right the recipe in lbs and onces I want to make sure ever thing is right thank you

  49. Shane 3 years ago

    Can you talk a little bit about sodium nitrate and how long it takes to convert to nitrite? I have ready many discussions about this, but never anything scientifically speaking. You posted before, and it is widely documented, that consuming sodium nitrate is not recommended for health reasons. Is the nitrate going to be fully converted at the end of the drying, or does the product continue to “work” after you finish it and put in storage? I believe the sodium nitrate is used because of the “time delay” in producing sodium nitrite so that you have the preserving benefit throughout the drying and curing process. Thanks for a great recipe and your very informative posts. I appreciate you sharing your great knowledge.

  50. Michael Keller 3 years ago

    Hello Kyle, thanks for sharing your recipe with everyone. I have a background in German Sausage making, but I haven’t tried the Spanish Chorizo making yet.
    I’m actually looking for a recipe for Chorizo Cantimpalo if you can help me find it. I’m going to give this recipe a try in the meantime, because there’s no bad Spanish Chorizo that I’ve encountered.
    I used to buy the Chorizo Cantimpalo when I lived in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México because I found it to be far more superior to anything Mexico had to offer for entertaining Guest.
    Thanks, keep up the good work.

  51. Joe 2 years ago

    Kyle, my first chorizo batch had little worms in between where links were touching after a week, even though a nice safe, white mold was growing… i think flies got to it on the back porch before transfering to a closed, cooler spot. Any thoughts?
    But, i just atuffed a new batch qnd would like to just cook and eat a couole of links that separated. Is it ok to do so with the Bactofirm in there?

  52. Joe 2 years ago

    Sorry Michael, i called you Kyle….ugh….Joe

  53. Joe 2 years ago

    Ok, i’m an idiot, Michael.

  54. frank gallegos 2 years ago

    can i ship dry cured chorizo without being iced.and how long will it last at room temperature

  55. Rob H 2 years ago


    Thanks for the inspirational article – Just ran across it this week for the first time and I can say it helped stimulate the economy as I have tons of equipment and ingredients ordered from all corners of the world this week to execute on my first project as a direct result of reading this blog..

    Perhaps you’ve be willing to do some scheduled paid phone consulting during the process if I have stupid questions along the way? I’ve never done this and feel a bit of an amateur despite my culinary background hobby.

    Thanks again,


  56. John Carston 1 year ago

    I like how you mentioned that many people love chorizo because of its taste. My uncle mentioned to me that he and his friends are looking for a pork chorizo supplier for this holiday and asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell him that they can consult a well-known pork chorizo supplier as they can answer all their inquiries.

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