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Fire Up Your Tailgate with the Spicy Bite of Chorizo

Tired of typical tailgate fare like hotdogs and hamburgers? Ready to make something really different — and delicious — to add a bit of flare to your next pre-game gathering?

Then think about including chorizo — a spicy pork sausage of Spanish origin — to your next game-day recipe book.

Despite its exotic-sounding name, chorizo is readily available in most specialty meat stores and many grocery stores as well.



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Things to Know About Chorizo

When buying chorizo in the United States, it’s important to know there are two types — Spanish and Mexican — each with its own distinctive use.

Spanish Chorizo


Spanish chorizo can be found in forms, both of which are fully cooked. One is dry, for slicing like you would pepperoni or salami. The other is soft and can be used like typical sausage.

Spanish chorizo has a deep red color and distinctive smoky flavor, owing to the touches of garlic and pimentón, a Spanish smoked paprika.

Spanish chorizo

Mexican Chorizo


Mexican chorizo is normally sold fresh, and it’s pretty common in most grocery stores. It is uncooked, so cooking is required before consuming.

While it’s sold in a casing, most recipes require you to remove the meat from the casing and crumble it while cooking.

Mexican chorizo is a bit fattier than the Spanish version, and it’s seasoned with chile peppers and vinegar.

Mexican chorizo

Other Important
Tips

Chorizo is good for about two weeks in your fridge, but after you remove it from the casing you should plan on eating it within seven days.

No matter what type of chorizo you use, you should always remove the casing before slicing and eating (in the case of Spanish chorizo) or cooking (in the case of Mexican chorizo).

Chorizo Recipes for Game Day

With its many types and flavors, chorizo is a great way to add flavor and interest to any tailgating party.

You can slice up some dry Spanish chorizo and serve with an assortment of cheeses, olives, and pickles as a simple tapas tray, or prepare one of the delicious, flavor-loaded recipes curated below.


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Chorizo-Stuffed Jalapeños


Chorizo Appetizers

This recipe from the over-the-top grilling site, Grillax, is an excellent mash-up of spicy flavors that will wow ‘em at your next tailgate.

DIRECTIONS

  • Start by halving your peppers and set aside. More seeds equal more heat, removing seeds creates a milder pepper flavor.
  • Slice up your bacon so that you have 16 strips roughly the same size as your peppers.
  • Next, brown your chorizo and set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, add your shredded cheese, mayonnaise and diced onion. Once combined, fold in your chorizo. Be sure to get as much as the fat from the sausage as possible for great flavor.
  • Spoon the filling into a pepper—  a little over the level mark for each — and place on a cast-iron skillet or pepper tray. Top with a slice of bacon.
  • Salt and pepper the bacon, then sprinkle chipotle over the bacon, to taste.
  • Place the cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and cover grill for 20 minutes.
  • Add pecan or hickory chunks for added flavor, but don’t allow to flame up. Once the bacon is curled and crisp, remove from grill and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Grillax

    Image from grillax

    INGREDIENTS

    • 8 medium-sized jalapeños
    • Small red onion, diced
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 3/4 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
    • 4 ounces ground pork chorizo, browned
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, quartered (16 pieces)
    • Chipotle powder
    • Salt and pepper, dash

    Your friends and family will love these finger-sized treats, so be sure to make plenty.

    Chile Con Queso and Chorizo Dip


    Chorizo Appetizers

    Nothing suits a tailgate better than creamy, gooey cheese dip and tortilla chips. People magazine shares chef Aaron Sanchez’ favorite game-day chorizo recipe, below.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 2 oz. pork chorizo
    • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
    • 2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced
    • 1 12-oz. package Oaxaca cheese, shredded or cubed
    • 4 oz. manchego cheese, shredded
    • ½ cup milk
    • Tortilla chips
    Chile con queso and chorizo dip

    Image from people.com

    DIRECTIONS

  • Fry the onions in olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes to soften.
  • Stir in the chorizo, tomatoes and chiles and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more until the chorizo is cooked.
  • Add cheeses and milk and stir the mixture together until melted and smooth, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Take off the heat, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve with tortilla chips.

  • This recipe is so easy to prepare, it’s worth serving at every tailgate. Make extra, because it’s sure to go fast!

    Chorizo Bacon Chili


    Chorizo Main Dishes

    Grilled Sweet Potato Chorizo and Corn Hash


    Chorizo Main Dishes

    No state knows chorizo like Texas, and when Texas Monthly magazine gathered some of the best tailgating recipes, chorizo topped the list with this one.

    DIRECTIONS

  • Heat grill to about 400 degrees and oil grate. Poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork or knife; season with salt and pepper and brush with a little olive oil; then wrap in aluminum foil (dull side in).
  • Place on back of grill and close lid. Cook until soft to the touch, about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and remove skin.
  • Season corn with salt and pepper. Brush with a little olive oil and grill for a few minutes on all sides until cooked and light golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and shave kernels off cobs.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat remaining olive oil on medium heat and add chorizo, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula or back of a spoon.
  • Sauté until fully cooked, then add onion and continue cooking until onion is translucent. Add corn and sweet potatoes, pressing potatoes with back of a spoon until coarsely mashed (a few lumps are fine).
  • Add cream, cheese, chili powder, and cinnamon; stir well and cook until hot.

  • grilled chorizo at texas monthy

    Image from texasmonthly

    INGREDIENTS

    • 4 medium sweet potatoes 
    • 3 ears corn, shucked 
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
    • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casing 
    • 1/2 cup diced red onion 
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
    • 3/4 cup grated Gruyère 
    • 2 tablespoons prepared chili powder (such as Fiesta, Spice Islands, or McCormick’s) 
    • 1 dash ground cinnamon
    • salt and pepper to taste

    This hash really hit flavor out of the ballpark with an interesting mix of corn, potatoes, and chorizo. Plus, it’s substantial enough to keep your crowd from getting hungry later.

    Tailgating Menus with Chorizo are Easy, Fun, and Flavorful

    Most of the easy chorizo recipes in this article can be made ahead of time and reheated at your tailgate.

    Some, especially the chili, will actually benefit from being prepared in advance so the flavors can meld and improve the overall taste of the dish.

    So, don’t miss out on using this extraordinary sausage in your next tailgate menu. Find a good source near you (and remember, you can order it online, too) in advance of your tailgate to avoid last-minute stress.

    Since it keeps well, you can purchase your chorizo up to two weeks in advance of game day, saving you time.

    No matter which recipe you choose, you can be sure chorizo will add an unexpected — and welcome — touch of spice to your next tailgating event.


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