Chorizo is a bit like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it, but it’s a bit hard to define in the abstract.
That’s because there are several hundred varieties of this sausage made across at least three continents and many bear little resemblance to the others.
Making matters worse, chorizo makers in the U.S. are a pretty freewheeling bunch. No matter what the packages say, you never quite know what you’re getting.
The good news is that you don’t need to sift through all that to understand why this meat is well worth working into your dinner repertoire.
At its most basic level, chorizo is a sausage made from chopped or ground pork and a ton of seasonings, often including garlic.
The flavors are deeply smoky and savory, with varying degrees of heat. Most are assertive and peppery, but not truly spicy.