I have been meaning to experiment more with our chorizos. We currently offer a fresh (no preservatives) large, rather lean chorizo flavored with paprika, garlic and vinegar that some find extremely different from the sickly sweet chorizos that have become so common in Cebu these days… The ones in the market hang out in the open, drying away, and conjure images of botulism just wanting to happen. As flies swirl around the sausages, I often shiver at the issue of hygiene… But they seem to use an incredible amount of pink salt or sodium nitrates, so presumably the threat of botulism is reduced greatly… I have been wary of nitrates, but recognize that many sausages around the world rely on them to be properly and safely preserved.
So we have finally purchased some pink salt, or prague powder, or sodium nitrate, and after careful research and measuring and re-measuring, I made a batch of chorizos which included the pink salt, as I wanted to also hot smoke the sausages before chilling them or freezing them before cooking. I am still wary of getting to the point of just leaving them out hanging around like in the markets, but I wanted the smoking step to dry off the skins and infuse the sausage with smokey flavor.
We simply hung freshly made chorizos (with pink salt) several feet away from lechons roasting away over the coals. The temperature was probably between 180-200F and the sausages rendered fat slowly over a three-hour smoking period. The smoke warded off flies or any other bugs and it infused the sausages with a surprisingly distinct and appealing aroma and taste. The sausages took on a really healthy burnished color, almost like a fresh olive tan…
Sister once mentioned that our Lola used to smoke casajos or beef tapa in the rafters of her bakery which had two wood-fired brick ovens, so I was taking a chance that this was a similar way to do that. The results were brilliant. A whole kilo worth of smoked chorizos were fried up and the office crew wiped them out at a late-afternoon impromptu merienda. We still have to tweak things a bit more and I hope it will result in a uniquely delicious “lechon-smoked” chorizo. :)