Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Making Sausage: Spanish Style Chorizo

Today we are going to be making a Spanish style chorizo sausage. Spanish chorizo is somewhat different from the chorizo we see in the Mexican markets here is south Texas. Local or Mexican style chorizo has an added chili powder component and a few additional spices, and wil be the subject for another article. As with most sausage recipes, this recipe is originally made with pork, however pork and rabbit which are both white meats, are very similar in texture when cooked, and both make great sausages.

Sausage making has always been a way for farmers and hunters to preserve as well and use all the meat from any animals they butchered or were able to successfully kill during the hunt. On our small homestead we raise New Zealand White (NZW) and the American Blue (AB) rabbits for meat. A great thing about rabbit meat is that it is all white and very lean. You do however you do need to add some fat to any sausage to keep it from drying out. In this recipe as with our brautwurst recipe the fat content is 25 to 30%, however the original chorizo recipe I used called for 2lb 8oz pork fat for 5lbs of meat which makes the fat content 50%. So if you want more fat in your chorizo, try using 2lb 8oz of bacon in this recipe.

For the fat component we purchase a product called 'Wright's Ends and Pieces'. It is, as the name implies the ends and pieces of bacon that have been trimmed off during the processing and packaging of bacon. It comes in 3lb packages and is a great source of quality fat needed for sausage production on a small scale. If however you are only making a 2 ½ to 5 lb batch of sausage a 1lb package of smoked sliced bacon will do nicely.

Spanish Style Chorizo

5 lbs rabbit, deboned
20 ounces (1lb 4oz) ends and pieces or smoked bacon
5 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cumin, ground
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
natural hog casings.

De-bone the rabbit and chill thoroughly. Grind the rabbit meat and bacon together in small batches using the coarse plate (chili grind) on your meat grinder. Combine the meat in a bowl with the spices. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for an hour. After the sausage has cooled, take a small portion and pan fry to determine if the spices in the sausage need to be adjusted. If you are satisfied with the flavor, then it is time to go ahead and grind the meat mixture one more time through a fine plate (hamburger grind) on your meat grinder.

Chef's Note: You can omit the second grind if you want it is not essential, it does however help distribute the spices more evenly and makes for a finer texture of the sausage, but it does not affect the taste.

If the sausage casings you are using are salt-packed, rinse and soak them for 30 minutes. If you rinse and allow them to soak while you are grinding your meat, it will save you some time. Slide the casing onto your sausage stuffer's tube. Put the meat mixture into the stuffer and run the motor (or press the mixture, if using a manual stuffer), pushing the mixture until it begins to emerge from the sausage stuffer. You want to start pushing meat into the casing before tying off the end to make sure no air is trapped in the casing.

Tie the casing into a knot and start extruding the meat into the casing, slipping more casing off as necessary. You want the casing to be tightly packed with the sausage mixture, but not so full that it bursts. At first, this can seem tricky, but as you go you'll get the hang of it. Now you have one long sausage. Gently twist it into 6 to 8 inch lengths. Take a small sewing needle or sausage pricker and prick a few small holes in the sausage anywhere you see air bubbles. Cut apart or leave in a string and refrigerate until ready to cook, no more than two days. To store longer, freeze in zip-top bags with as much air squeezed out as possible, or for longer storage use a vacuum sealer such as a foodsaver.


This afternoon, my friend Steven Coyne author of the Texas Rabbit Barn blog came over and and brought 12lbs of ground rabbit meat and I added 16 pounds of my own. Together we made 10lbs of chorizo and 20 pounds of bratwurst. Having a friend or spouse to help you make sausage is essential. You can do just about everything yourself except stuffing the sausage. We try and do this a couple times a year. Making sausage is a great way to expand the types of meals you make with rabbit, and it is a great way to introduce people to the taste and flavor of rabbit.

I like to grill my chorizo, about 6 minutes per side on my gas grill using indirect heat. (i.e. heat grill with both burners, then turn one burner off and place sausage on side of grill without the flame, then reverse the process). You can also pan fry them until done. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. As always, we ask that if you find this information interesting that you please share it with your friends on Facebook and Google+. You can also subscribe to our blog so that you do not miss any of our new articles or our notices regarding rabbit's that we have available for sale.

If you want to see us making sausage and being somewhat silly check out the video link below:

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