Our top 10 chorizos

  • By
    Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor - Easy Cook magazine

Sarah Sysum tastes her way through the pricey to the picante to find out which sausages make the grade.

Adding a slice of chorizo spices up most autumnal suppers but there are so many to choose from it's hard to know which one to buy. We select ten of the best Spanish-style sausages on the market.

Rodriguez sausage1. Rodriguez spicy chorizo (Leon), approx 600g

A great all rounder that can be used for slicing and eating or cooking. It has a sweet, spicy flavour with a firm texture, which is achieved by the fine grind it uses. It consistently wins awards. I like it warmed through flamed with vodka. Somehow the piquancy is enhanced this way.

£8.45, www.thetapaslunchcompany.co.uk

Sliced chorizo2. Fire chorizo, 900g

Some like it hot. I'm a chilli wimp and this had me running for a pint of water but if you like your food very, very spicy this one's for you. The 'Fire' chorizo actually has a very complex flavour. The heat builds on the palate, and as well as heat you get superb depth with flavours of hot paprika and cayenne pepper, mixed with spice and white wine. Best served warm. You have been warned it's tremendously hot, significantly hotter than 'picante'.

€10.95, www.orceserranohams.com

Brindisa chorizo3. Brindisa chorizo mini dulce

If you're after sausages to cook, these little beauties take some beating. When grilled plenty of oil leaches out, however the end (cooked) result is surprisingly greaseless and full of fabulous chorizo flavour. Brilliant thrown in salads and pasta dishes or go British-ish with pesto mash, also available in picante (spicy) flavour.

£3.50 each, www.brindisa.com

Beef chorizo4. Chorizo puro de vaca, approx 270g

An alternative to pork chorizo, this beef chorizo has been smoked over oak wood chips, which gives it a unique meaty flavour (think a soft eating beef jerky) with a smoky aftertaste. It's an acquired taste but definitely worth a try.

£4.65, www.lolaespana.com

Fuet extra sausage5. Fuet extra, 180g

Not strictly a chorizo but a Spanish salami never the less. 'Fuet extra' (also known as 'Espatec') is a specialty of Vic in Catalunya. A long, thin, sweet-tasting salami, it's firm-textured, with a sweet peppery flavour; great as an appetiser with a glass of Fino sherry, or as part of an assorted plate of charcuterie.

£3.45, www.rgarciaandsons.com

Unearthed chorizo sausages6. Unearthed Spanish mini cooking chorizo sausages, 250g

Proving that you can get good stuff in the supermarket. These small sausages once cooked ooze lots of sweet paprika rich oil. They don't have huge chunks of fat (as you find in some more authentic chorizos) however I find this gristle free texture very appealing. They're sweet rather than spicy. Of all the products I've tested these are the one kids really loved. Our 2-year-old tester wolfed them down!

£3.59, www.waitrose.com

Sobrasada de Mallorca7. Sobrasada de Mallorca, 300g minimum

The national sausage of Mallorca and the Balearic Islands: a soft, spreadable chorizo. It's made like this as the climate of these islands is too damp for air-drying. Made with streaky bacon, loin of pork and spices, mainly paprika. It can be eaten uncooked however it's best spread on toast and sprinkled with honey for breakfast.

£4.25, www.delicioso.co.uk

The Bath Pig chorizo8. The Bath Pig original chorizo, 130g

British chorizo - who'd have thought it eh? It contains British pork, salt, smoked Spanish paprika, black pepper, ginger, paprika extract and garlic. It has a smooth texture with a slight nuttiness to it, snacking sausage at its high-class best.

£5.95, www.thebathpig.com

Sainsbury's chorizo9. Sainsbury's Taste the Difference chorizo Iberico Bellota, 40g

Another good supermarket line. Chorizo Iberico Bellota is made from the meat of the black-footed (pata negra) Iberian pigs that roam freely and feed on acorns. The nuttiness of the acorns comes through in the meat and fat, and even better the fat is actually good for you as it is rich in oleic acid - just like olive oil! The creamy, nutty taste is so good no cooking is necessary.

£1.85, www.sainsburys.co.uk

Gran chorizo10. Wheaty gran chorizo, 200g

OK, I appreciate this isn't going to appeal to everyone but this is a pioneering product - it's the first air-cured vegan sausage. The sweet smoky flavour is achieved by using red pepper and natural beechwood smoking. As veggie alternatives go this is pretty good stuff.

£5.00, www.veggiestuff.com

If you have a favourite chorizo, please share it below. Or, if you need some inspiration, check out our chorizo recipe collection

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La Malagueta's picture

Pity the author refers to sausages in the head line, chorizo is not sausage, they are completely different products which probably explains why main stream commercial UK products are being classed as top 10. A large part of the UK population dose not understand what a chorizo is, calling them sausages only helps to perpetuate the lack of understanding.

fialfeaux's picture

Interesting article. I completely agree with chrisnation's comment. If you want to buy British, buy traditional British products.
In addition to the above, these are my comments on the (sponsored) products mentioned in this article:
1. Leon is famous for it's artesan chorizos yet you chose to mention the one big industrial brand which is far from excellent. Chorizos from Embutidos Entrepeñas and Embutidos Tarabico are the ones you want to try. That's top.
2. Same as for point n.1.
3. is not bad, I must admit.
4. That's not only not traditional but on top of it, it's not good. If you you are looking for cured beef, go for Cecina de León (spanish cured beef ham - fantastic). Otherwise, just go for the real thing.
5. You say it, it's not a chorizo. If I have to choose a fuet I'd go for cruells' fuet.
6., 8. and 10. I would not try them even if they paid me to. Why on earth is everybody so keen on suggesting stuff sold in supermarkets? Nowadays you can buy anything directly from the producer with a much better price/quality relationship.
7. I love sobrasada de Mallorca. Make sure you get the real one from a producer registered with the regulatory board of the Protected Geographical Indication. There are lots of imitations.
9. I guess everybody knows which is the best iberian chorizo. As above, I would not buy an own brand in a supermarket where the price is 3-4 times higher than the real price. But that's just me :-)

hayleyb277's picture

Buy British, I always go for Bath Pig products now for my choritzo!!!

chrisnation's picture

Buying British chorizo is no hanging offence but please can we get out of the habit of referring to chorizo as if it was Italian. There's no T in chorizo. There's no T sound to the Z. I heaR 'chorITso' a lot. It's a soft TH - choritho - but an S sound is OK instead of TH because that's the way Z is pronounced in Andalucia and all of Latin America.

And the thing about British chorizo runs into the same problem as, say, Jamon York. Jamon York is the Spanish version of British ham. For a start, the pig, be it for chorizo or ham, is the wrong breed and has been born and raised in the wrong country. That makes a massive difference that cannot be undone by then using imported flavourings and production techniques.

We all know the best example of this problem. Once you've crossed The Channel you cannot get a proper cup of tea.