Day 3 was going to be a smokin hot day…not only because it was a beautiful sunny day in Africa but because today was the day we were going to smoke the Chorizo sausages.
‘Luvie’ had kindly offered to smoke the Chorizo during the day as the whole smoking process took a couple of hours thereby freeing us up to enjoy our Tapas feast that evening. I was the perfect assistant bringing him ice cold water to drink, mopping his brow and keeping him company for 3 hours while he slaved over our Chorizo.
3 hours & 29 seconds of smoking in the Weber yielded the most gorgeous batch of Chorizo we’d ever made. I initially thought we’d over smoked them but they were beautiful…they looked good and tasted even better…I couldn’t wait to show my students.
Before the students arrived I raided the pantry and put together a tapas feast of pickles, marinated feta, sweet peppers and home-made bread….oh almost forgot the cherry tomatoes with olives and Basil pesto.
After the initial mayhem of whose sausage was whose, followed by a quick demo on how to smoke any future Chorizo, they were packed away in brown paper bags to be taken home and enjoyed with their families.
We also flambe’d some extra Chorizo with a little brandy, chopped it up and added it to the feast. Our marinated feta was also spread over grilled zucchini then rolled up…a real hit with the class!
I thought it only fair that after I spent the day acting as ‘luvies’ side-kick, my students could prepare dessert. I had decided to show them how to make koeksisters, a South African syrup-coated doughnut braided into a plait and then deep-fried. Though lacking in Spanish origins, the humble koeksister, lacking in acceptable health approval, until recently acclaimed by Masterchef South Africa was all of a sudden ‘something-we-all-just-had-to-make, so we did!
All in all it was another marvellous evening of great food, great company and of course great Chorizo!
Home-Made Chorizo recipe
For the Meat
1kg pork neck, finely chopped
1kg pork belly, finely chopped
350g spek fat (15% of the total pork meat), finely chopped
Boerewors intestinal casings
1/2 bulb of fresh garlic
60ml of smoked paprika (the expensive variety available at Woolies)
30ml coarse salt
1L of red wine
45ml bay leaves
Plastic funnel – trimmed to make it user friendly.
Briquettes – a good quality
Bag of smoking wooden chips – we used Mesquite (Weber)
- Combine the pork belly, pork neck and spek in a large non-metallic bowl.
- In batches and using a pestle & mortar bash the garlic, 15ml of coarse salt and bay leaves to form a paste. If you don’t have a pestle just chop everything up finely.
- Add the paste to the pork and rub it into the meat.
- Add the paprika, cumin and the rest of the salt (15ml). Add the red wine and mix everything together. Make sure all the pork is coated in the marinade.
- Place in the fridge and marinade for 24-30 hours turning through as many times as you can remember.
- Remove the intestinal casings from the freezer and soak in water, ready to use the following day….place in the fridge
- 24hrs later: Do a taste test: Fry up a small amount of pork mixture to check the seasoning…adjust accordingly .i.e add salt or spices or garlic.
- Remove the casings from the fridge, cut into 30cm or 60cm lengths (depending on what size you want). Tie one end of the casing with a secure knot. I would suggest preparing at least 10 casings before you start stuffing.
- Put your gloves on. Open the un-knotted end of the casing and feed it onto your plastic funnel until you’ve reached the knotted end…go gently so that you don’t tear the casing.
- Pick up some of the marinated meat and start pushing it through the funnel and into the casings…feed it through slowly. You will get better as you go along.
- Leave enough casing at the end to tie a knot with a piece of string. If you are making a large sausage, shape into a U-shape and tie the 2 ends together. For a smaller sausage just tie the end with a piece of string long enough to form a loop for when you have to hang the sausage.
- Once done, hang the sausages in a cool dry ventilated room…I use my biltong maker but you can hang it in a cupboard or balance a broomstick over 2 chairs and hang the sausages from the broomstick. Place a fan in the room and leave to hang for 18 -24hrs. Use wire coathangers shaped into a S as hooks.
- Soak approx. 6x handful of wood chips (mesquite or hickory) in water for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Place 12-15 briquettes on the bottom grill of your Weber. Make sure the bottom & top vents are half open. Ignite the briquettes and leave until glowing. The briquettes will be covered in grey ash (this takes approx. 20-30min). Leave the lid off.
- Place 2-3 handfuls of soaked wooden chips onto the glowing coals….shake off excess water before adding them to the coals. Place the grill top on and put the lid on. Wait for 5 minutes in order to stabilise the temp.
- Remove the lid slowly and add the chorizo around the edge of the briquettes. Do this as quickly as you can. Return the lid to the Weber and allow to smoke for 1-1h30. Refrain from opening the lid. If using a digital thermometer check the temp by inserting the thermometer through the top vent. The temp shouldn’t go over 100C. If it does, close the top vent slightly to cool the temperature down.
- After a 1-1h30 you will have to re-heat the Weber and repeat the process again SO it would be a good idea to light a few briquettes (6-8) ahead of time so that they are glowing and ready to add to the Weber in a 1-1h30min.
- Remove the top grill with the chorizo on, add the new glowing briquettes, 2-3 handfuls of wooden chips, return the grill with chorizo on and place the Weber lid back on.
- Smoke for a further 1-1h30min. However this time check your chorizo after 45min to see how it is doing.
- Things to look out for: If your chorizo hasn’t turn a wonderful reddish brown or firm to the touch then you need to continue smoking. If the sausage is wrinkled & blistered you need to take it off immediately as its over-done.
- If using a thermometer the internal temp of the chorizo NOT Weber should be approx. 68-70C …the chorizo is done!
Makes 6-8 (350g chorizo’s)