Meat coming out of grinder

When I was first introduced to Mexican Chorizo I was very confused. What I knew as "Chorizo" came from Spain and it was a dried sausage, so the first time I ordered Chorizo and Eggs I was perplexed by what I received. My consternation didn't last long, however, after taking my first bite. I immediately fell in love with this new (well at least new to me) form of sausage. And I've been in love ever since.

Chorizo is a great way to add a little spice and Southwest flair to just about any meat dish that calls for ground meat. I often like to add it to chili, use it to fill tacos and burritos, add some into fried potatoes, or a pot of refried beans, and, of course, in the ever popular Chorizo and Eggs, for breakfast. But one of my favorite things to do with chorizo is to make my Southwestern Chorizo Burgers. It's a combination of chorizo and ground beef and it makes one of the best nontraditional burgers around

Making Mexican Chorizo is a pretty simple process, especially so since I find no need to stuff it into casings. The vast majority of uses requires it to be crumbled and browned so there is no need to bother with the hassle of stuffing. To be honest, as much as I love chorizo, it is a pretty spicy product and I'm not sure that I'd enjoy eating it as a link.

Mexican Chorizo

4 pounds pork butt
2 Tbs. paprika
1 1/2 Tbs. ancho powder*
1 Tbs. chipotle powder**
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. ground black pepper
5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/3 cup cider vinegar

Cut the pork butt into 1 inch pieces, making sure to remove any glands you might come across (for a description is my post on making Italian Sausage). In a nonreactive bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix into the pork.

Raw meat with spices in bowl

Add the vinegar and mix well. Cover and place in the refrigerator for, at least 2 hours, or overnight. Before grinding place all grinder parts in the freezer to chill. Grind once using the coarsest die.

Ground meat in bowl

Mix the sausage to help distribute the seasonings even more then grind, again, through one of the smaller dies. Make a small patty and cook it up. Taste and check for seasoning. Adjust seasoning to your taste. This recipe makes a full flavored sausage with just a bit of heat. You can up the ancho and chipotle, or even add a bit of cayenne if you want more. I usually then package it into 1/2-1 pound packages that I freeze until needed. While this sausage is ready to go after grinding, I find giving it another day, for the flavors to meld, improves it even more.

*If you can't find Ancho powder, take a couple of ancho chiles (the dried form of the poblano pepper) and roast them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool completely, remove the stem and seeds (you can leave the seeds in if you want it hotter), crumble it up and grind in a spice grinder.

**If you don't have Chipotle powder puree 1-2 chipotles en adobo as a substitute. You can find these in most Hispanic sections at the grocery store nowadays.