Make this Oaxacan chorizo from scratch and win your backyard barbecue

Luis Martinez
Special to Southern Kitchen

In Oaxaca, chorizo is essential in every barbecue. Each region has its own recipe, using local peppers. The following version is made in the Oaxacan Valley.

This recipe requires ground pork belly and shoulder. Ask the butcher at the place where you buy your meat to grind it for you if you don't have a meat grinder.

You can use hog casings to shape your sausage, or you could simply shape chorizo into golf ball-sized rounds and cook them on the grill.

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Note that this recipe can take 48 hours or more if you plan to cure the sausage, so read through from beginning to end before starting. 

This will yield around a pound or so of chorizo.


5 ounces ground pork belly

10 ounces ground pork shoulder

5 medium ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed

2 guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed

1 tablespoon chipotle adobo

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 minced garlic cloves

1/3 cup cider vinegar

3 teaspoons kosher salt

Hog casings

Kitchen twine


In a heated pan, roast the chiles. Turn them over regularly and cook until they are supple and fragrant, about 15-30 seconds.

Bring a quart of water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chiles and cover. Leave for 30 minutes or until the chiles are very tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.

Place the chiles, spices, garlic, vinegar and the reserved chile soaking liquid in a blender, then blend until smooth.

Combine the ground meats and the chile paste in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare hog casings for stuffing by soaking in warm water for at least 30 minutes. Change the soaking water and run fresh water through them to remove traces of salt. Stuff the meat into the casings, but leave each piece of casing unstuffed at least 6 inches at each end. Keep the long sausage link quite loose rather than densely packed (if too tight, the casing may burst while creating the small links). Starting in the center and working toward the ends, use kitchen twine to tie the sausage into short, tight rounds the size of a golf ball.

If you don't have hog casings, the mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape if rolled into meatballs. Shape into meatballs.

If hog casings were used, hang the links in a cool, airy place (50-60 degrees) for 36-48 hours or until they have firmed up and are dry to the touch. Be sure to put a baking tray lined with paper towels underneath the sausage to catch the drips. Cut the finished sausage into shorter sets of links, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Brush the chorizo balls or links with olive oil. Place them on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until well browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total.

Serve with tortillas and your favorite salsa.