rworange has made a project out of tasting the house-made chorizo of Mexican markets in the Bay Area. Overall, her results are positive–the spicy sausages are generally great, with strong notes of vinegar, chile, and herbs, and lots of variation from store to store.
Tasting a commercially-produced chorizo for comparison, however, reveals how bad things can really get. “This is probably the scariest thing I’ve eaten in my life,” says rworange. El Mexicano brand chorizo ($1.49 for a 12-ounce package) lists pork salivary glands, lymph nodes, and fat (cheeks) as the top three ingredients. It has a disturbingly soft texture with plenty of stringy pieces. And it tastes like…saliva, with an awful, soft sliminess to it.
Real chorizo from a carniceria costs only about twice as much and it’s worth every penny.