I like chorizo. I’ve had it in fajitas, burritos, chili, appetizers, and omelettes. Spicy pork? Yes, please.
The local grocery stores sometimes stock fresh-ground chorizo, but more often than they just have your standard country pork sausage or Italian sausage. As a result, I finally decided to pick up a tube of this stuff:
That soylent orange color? Yeah, pretty accurate, unlike the lies the fast food giants like to tell us.
I got the package out to make an omelette this morning. The instructions say to “remove from casing” before cooking. Apparently they meant the packaging, because there was no casing around this pasty muck, near as I could tell. I squeezed it out into the pan and tried to ignore the funky lumps as I attempted to crumble it for cooking.
After a few minutes over heat, I noticed no change in color or consistency. Meats are supposed to brown, right?
Time to look at the packaging again. “Cook to an internal temperature of 160°.” They don’t seem to care how. Okay, the stuff is sizzling and parts are starting to look a little crispy. Gotta be done.
Still bright, nuclear orange. Hmm. Are we sure this is pork? To the ingredients!
Yes, first ingredient is pork. But then came the dreaded parentheses. What, pray tell, pork products are included?
“Salivary glands, lymph nodes, and fat (cheeks).”
Back up, Mr Butcher Man! I don’t even know what salivary glands and lymph nodes look like! A series of tubes you just chop up and spice to hide all hint of flavor? I understand you want to use as much of the animal as possible, but is this really necessary anymore? We’re not all Andrew Zimmern or Bear Grylls. You know why? Because we’re not paid to be!
But hey, I can be adventurous. Is this how it was done back in the day? Maybe it’s like pig’s feet or haggis, a remnant from a time people really did have to find a way to eat every bit of an animal to get a meal. Maybe this is what I’ve been eating all along at Mexican restaurants and just didn’t know it. Ignorance is bliss, right?
So I poured in my beaten eggs, cooked it up, flipped, added cheese, and slid it onto the plate.
Understand, chorizo is greasy. Just like any other sausage or fatty meat, you’re going to get some runoff. This stuff took it to a whole new level by leaving a liquid even brighter and more orange than the original product.
Okay, okay, thought I. Let’s not panic. It’s wrapped in egg and cheese. Man the hell up and take a bite.
I tried. I really did. I even had myself psyched up enough I expected a pleasant surprise. Sadly, this tasted nothing like the stuff I got in the local Mexican joints, nor was it anywhere near as tasty as the ground chorizo I bought from the grocery stores. Maybe it was just the thought of the ingredients getting to me, right? Took another bite. Now that it didn’t catch me by surprise, is it really all that bad?
Okay, one more bite.
No. No, no, and hell no. Just plain wrong. Into the garbage can.
Just to be sure, I consulted Wikipedia for a second opinion. The chorizo article has a history of the meat from several countries, but nowhere does it mention goddamn salivary glands. From the “Mexican chorizo” portion:
Based on the uncooked Spanish chorizo fresco, the Mexican versions of chorizo are made from fatty pork (however, beef, venison, kosher, and even vegan versions are known). The meat is usually ground (minced) rather than chopped, and different seasonings are used.
Fatty pork. Like where the bacon comes from, perhaps? Or at least somewhere where there is actual meat, not just leftovers. It’s no wonder the taste and texture of the stuff I’ve been eating is completely different from this spicy sludge.
Learn from my pain, my friends.
Next to the pork chorizo I bought is a tube of beef chorizo. I haven’t gone back to see what it’s made of, yet, but I can’t imagine it’s any better.