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What is the internal temperature of chorizo when done? Fresh chorizo sausage is safe to eat above a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees Celsius.
Chorizo is made from ground pork and the minimum safe temperature for ground pork sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are also variations of chorizo made from other meats and meat alternatives such as beef, turkey, chicken, and soy.
I will be discussing mainly the most widely-used version of fresh chorizo that uses pork.
There is no way that you can visually tell if fresh chorizo is cooked because of its reddish color caused by its traditional ingredients of paprika and chile powder.
The only way to truly tell if fresh chorizo sausage is done to a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius is with a meat thermometer.
It can also be confusing because chorizo sausage can exist in fresh, semi-cured, and dried-and-cured forms.
Any fresh or semi-cured chorizo sausage that you buy from a store’s refrigerated case needs to be cooked. Dried, cured, or smoked chorizo is safe to consume without cooking.Traditional cured chorizo sausage like the Palacios Chorizo sausage from Spain that is pictured above is safe to consume without cooking. The semi-cured chorizo sausage that is pictured above needs to be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe to consume.
In this post, I will discuss the internal temperature of chorizo when done.
I’ll also examine some of the best preparation methods and proper meat thermometer placement for both link chorizo sausage and ground chorizo sausage crumbles.
How to Know When Chorizo Is Cooked
How do you know when fresh chorizo sausage is cooked? It is very difficult to tell when fresh chorizo is cooked to a safe temperature because of its naturally reddish color that it gets from the paprika and chile powder in its ingredients.
The best way to tell if fresh chorizo sausage is cooked to a safe minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit/ 71 degrees Celsius is with a meat thermometer.
Fresh chorizo can come in either sausage-link or loosely-ground form.
The best way to test a chorizo link sausage for doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the middle of one of the ends of the sausage.
Insert your thermometer probe up to where the sausage starts to curve, observing any temperature changes along the way.
Then slowly retract the probe back out, looking at any variations in temperature. If your chorizo is above 160 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re good to go.
But what about ground chorizo? How can you tell when ground chorizo crumbles are safe to eat?
How to Tell When Ground Chorizo Is Cooked
The easiest way to tell when ground chorizo is cooked is to take a large spoon and scoop up a portion of the cooked chorizo from the pan and insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the crumbles.
If the meat thermometer reads over 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius while immersed in the large spoonful of ground chorizo, then the chorizo is safe to eat.
Ground chorizo will take around 10 minutes to cook in a covered pan over medium heat on the stovetop.
When you get to around the ten-minute mark you can scoop up some of the chorizo crumbles and insert your thermometer to see where the temperature is at.
Chorizo Cooking Temperature
What is the best temperature to cook chorizo? If you’re cooking chorizo in the oven a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. This temperature is gentle enough so that the chorizo links do not burst open.
It will take twenty minutes to cook chorizo link sausages in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Medium heat is the best if you’re cooking chorizo in a pan on the stovetop. But do not put your chorizos in the pan first without some water as they will burst open.
An empty pan that is heating over medium heat will have a surface temperature of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit after five minutes.
It is recommended that you poach or simmer the sausages in liquid over medium heat first before you sear them.
How long does it take for chorizo to cook this way? Great question.
How Long to Cook Chorizo
How long does it take to cook fresh chorizo sausage? You can cook fresh chorizo sausage to a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in generally around 10 to 15 minutes.
It’s best to cook fresh chorizo sausage links in a similar simmer-and-sear method that you would use to cook bratwurst sausages.
I’ll show you this method in a moment, but first I’ll explain why link sausages tend to burst open when exposed to direct heat.
You wouldn’t want to put fresh chorizo sausages in their casings directly on a hot grill because they will burst open.
Why is that?
When you cook sausage in its casing on the grill it is the casing that is the first thing to encounter heat. As the casing is being directly hit with heat it begins to contract and shrink.
Meanwhile, the meat inside the casing is also being hit with heat but isn’t shrinking as fast as the casing itself.
The now-smaller casing is too small for the meat inside and that is why you get sausages with casings that burst open.
Compounding this issue is the high amount of fat in most pork sausages. When their casings burst open on a grill the fat will then drip down onto the heat source and cause flareups.
So, how do you keep the casings on sausages from bursting open on the grill or in a pan?
The simmer-and-sear method.
How to Cook Chorizo Sausage Links
To cook chorizo sausage links on the grill or in a pan on the stovetop you will find that the simmer-and-sear method works best.
Why does this method work? By bringing the entire sausage, casing and all, gradually up to the same temperature, you can avoid the casing of the sausage to burst.
What is the simmer-and-sear method? It is a method of cooking fresh sausages by starting the cooking process in a simmering liquid and then finishing the cooking with direct heat.
Here’s how to do the simmer-and-sear method in a pan on the stovetop.
- Place your chorizo sausage in the pan with enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan and cover it with a lid. (Tip: It helps to have a glass lid so you can see what’s going on underneath the lid.)
- Place the covered-pan over medium heat for 10 minutes. The water in the pan will begin to simmer and possibly boil. Turn the heat down if the water is boiling too violently.
- After 10 minutes most of the liquid should be gone. Uncover the pan and insert a meat thermometer into the end of the chorizo link.
- If the chorizo sausage link measures above 150 degrees Fahrenheit, you can then sear the outside casing over direct heat. The direct heat and carryover cooking will raise the internal temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Check the internal temperature of the chorizo again after searing if in doubt. Serve.
You can also do the simmer-and-sear method on your grill. You will need an aluminum foil pan to place your chorizos in.
If you don’t have an aluminum pan you can make a crude one out of aluminum foil.
- Place your chorizos in the foil pan and cover with water or beer. Cover with foil.
- Then place your pan of chorizos over low heat. If using a propane grill, just turn one of the end burners to low. If using charcoal, make a two-zone fire with a hot side and a cold side.
- Simmer the chorizos for 20 minutes or so then check their internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
- If the chorizos are above 150 degrees Fahrenheit you can then sear them on the hot side of the grill until you reach your desired doneness.
How to Cook Ground Chorizo
One of the best ways to cook ground chorizo is in a covered pan over medium heat on the stovetop.
By covering the pan with a lid you not only expedite the cooking process you will also cook the ground chorizo crumbles more evenly.
By covering the pan with a lid you can generally cook a pound of ground chorizo in 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.
If you like your sausage crumbles crispy you can continue to cook the chorizo with the lid off.
What about Beef Chorizo?
What is the internal temperature of fresh chorizo made from beef when done? The minimum safe temperature for ground beef used in fresh sausages such as chorizo is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to cook beef chorizo sausage links or crumbles is by cooking them in a pan over medium heat on the stovetop.
To cook the beef chorizo sausage links on the stovetop, place them in a pan with just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat for ten minutes. After ten minutes test them for doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer.
Sear the outside of the sausages in a pan if desired.
To cook beef chorizo crumbles, you will use a similar method by cooking them in a covered pan over medium heat on the stovetop for ten minutes.
To test for doneness, just scoop up some of the crumbles with a large spoon and insert your thermometer into the crumbles. The chorizo crumbles are ready to eat above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chorizo is also made from chicken and turkey as well. Any fresh chorizo sausage that is made from ground poultry is safe to consume above a minimum safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can employ the same cooking methods for chicken and turkey chorizo as I’ve outlined for cooking pork and beef chorizo.
Chorizo sausage is difficult to tell when it’s done by using visual cues.
Because of the reddish ingredients of paprika and chile powder in chorizo, there are none of the usual visual indicators of doneness that you can use.
The main visual indicator of undercooked sausage is the pinkness of the meat itself. None of this pinkness is visible in chorizo because of its reddish ingredients.
The best way to tell if your fresh chorizo sausage is done is by using a meat thermometer to determine its internal temperature.
The internal temperature of chorizo when done is 160 degrees Fahrenheit/73.8 degrees Celsius.
There are many cooking methods you can use to reach this internal temperature.
By covering the chorizo sausage links or loosely ground chorizo while it cooks, you can expedite the cooking process as well as cook the chorizo more evenly as well.
To determine when a link chorizo sausage is done, insert your meat thermometer into one of the ends up to the halfway point of the sausage.
To determine when ground chorizo crumbles are done, take a large spoon, and scoop up some of the crumbles. Then take an instant-read thermometer and insert it into the middle of the crumbles to check its internal temperature.