If you ever get the chance to go to an authentic Mexican meat market, you’ll get to see lots of delicious meats. However, two of the most common that you’ll see are longaniza and chorizo. Both of these are types of pork sausages that originated in Spain, but each has key differences that set it apart from the other.
Longaniza is a long sausage that is made with chopped pork meat. It is typically less spicy than chorizo and has a much chunkier texture. Chorizo is made from ground pork and has lots of chile pepper and vinegar to up the spice level.
Both of these foods are very popular for their versatility. For breakfast, you can eat them with eggs and grits for a variation of the traditional American breakfast. For dinner, you can fry them up and then wrap them in tortillas for some quick and flavorful tacos.
What is Longaniza?
Longaniza is a type of sausage that originated in Spain. The exact ingredients will vary based on the region and longaniza is popular in many countries from Argentina to Mexico where it is perhaps most well known.
Normally, longaniza is made with pork meat but instead of being ground up, the pork is chopped. This makes the final sausage have a chunkier texture where you can detect the individual chunks of pork. This is different from a lot of other sausages where the meat is ground into a fine mince before being mixed with the spices.
Some of the most popular spices that longaniza contains are garlic, vinegar, dried red peppers, black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The exact spices that are used will depend on the region you get them from as many have local recipes that will vary and use different ingredients.
Like most natural sausages, the chopped meat in longaniza is packaged in pig intestines. One difference you’ll notice with longaniza is that compared to other sausages, this one is very long. Instead of being tied off into individual links, like chorizo and other sausages, the longaniza is left in one giant piece.
One of the most common ways to eat longaniza is along with tortillas to make tacos. It can also be eaten with rice or bread which helps to cut down on the spice.
What is Chorizo?
Chorizo is another type of sausage that also originated in Spain, but this one is now most commonly associated with Mexico. It is frequently eaten with rice or tortillas and its relatively mild flavor, compared to other spicy Mexican dishes, is appreciated by foreigners.
When chorizo first came over from Spain, there were several differences between that sausage and the sausage you’ll find in Mexico. For one, the ground pork in these sausages was usually cooked and it wasn’t spicy, instead being seasoned with garlic and paprika.
In Mexico, the meat in chorizo is usually raw and it is a much spicier sausage. This is because it is normally seasoned with vinegar and chile peppers, both of which work together to give this sausage a nice kick.
Some of the other spices that are typically used in chorizo include garlic, oregano, paprika, and ground coriander. In some regions of Mexico, you can even find chorizo that includes nuts like almonds to deepen the flavor of the sausage.
Longaniza vs Chorizo
Although these sausages both originated in Spain, there are some distinct differences between the two.
One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between these two sausages is by looking at their length. Normally, chorizo is going to be made in one long intestine but will be tied off into multiple short links of sausage, usually between four and six inches. You will then be able to purchase individual links instead of the entire strand of sausages.
In contrast, longaniza is not tied off into individual links. This means that when you go to purchase longaniza, you will have to buy the entire sausage. For this reason, longaniza is also usually only cooked in large servings. This is why it’s frequently eaten with tortillas and served as a type of taco.
Normally, out of the two, chorizo is spicier than longaniza. However, this will vary depending on where you purchase the sausage from.
If you are eating a traditional Spanish longaniza that is spiced with black pepper, it likely won’t be very spicy and might even have a slightly sweet flavor depending on the spices. However, if you are eating longaniza that was made in Mexico it could have a much spicier flavor due to the chile peppers and vinegar that are often included.
No matter where you go, the chorizo will almost always be spicy. This is because it is always flavored with spicy peppers. This also makes it appear bright orange or red in color which is frequently intimidating to people who are not used to it. To cut back on the spice, try eating your chorizo with tortillas or rice.
Grain of Meat
The third difference between these two sausages is how finely the meat is ground up.
With longaniza, the meat is almost always finely chopped instead of ground. This results in a sausage with much more texture. This is another reason why it is so popular in tacos, even when it’s pulled apart it still maintains a decent amount of texture.
Chorizo is typically made from ground-up pork much like a regular sausage. This makes it more of a “typical” sausage texture that you would think of with other sausages. However, this texture can also make spices stand out more since you will be able to feel them in the meat.
Type of Casing
Both chorizo and longaniza are usually cased in a typical tripe casing. Tripe is the intestine of a large animal, usually a pig in the case of these sausages. A lot of people prefer natural tripe casing because it can be eaten and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives that others might have.
Longaniza and Chorizo Recipes
One of the easiest ways that you can eat both longaniza and chorizo is with tortillas and rice. Just prepare your rice, heat your tortillas on the stove, then use the tortillas to scoop up the sausage. This is also a great option for foreigners who’d like to cut the heat down by a bit. You can also add a bit of sour cream for extra heat-canceling.
Another super common way to eat both longaniza and chorizo is as a breakfast with eggs. Think of it the same way you would a typical American breakfast, just with one of these sausages instead of the usual breakfast sausage. If you don’t mind the heat, try adding one of these sausages to an omelet for a truly amazing flavor.
The next time you see both of these sausages in a store, you should be able to tell the difference fairly easily.
If you’d prefer to keep spice to a minimum and prefer a chunkier meat, go with longaniza. It is typically seasoned with less chile and has a much chunkier grind of the meat. It is typically sold in long tubes of sausage without anything tying off the individual links.
Chorizo is the spicier of the two and is typically seasoned with both chile peppers and vinegar. The vinegar helps to enhance the spice of the sausage and bring out the flavor of the chile peppers even more. You can tell which is chorizo because it is usually tied off into multiple short links, making it easier to purchase a small amount.