It is dense and very red. Spices used include garlic, paprika, pepper, cumin, pepper, sugar and oregano.
The sausage is a mixture of 50% beef, 30% pork, and 20% pork fat.
To make the sausage, the meat is ground and the fat is cubed. The fat and meat are then combined, and mixed with salt, phosphate and curing salt,
then the seasonings are added.
The mixture is then allowed to sit 8 to 12 hours at room temperature, or 1 to 2 days chilled.
It is then packed into 4 inch (10 cm) long sausage casings, then dried naturally in the sun for 4 hours, or industrially, for 20 minutes in a turbo oven at 110 – 120 F (43 to 48 C.)
It is sold canned or frozen in vacuum sealed plastic packages. In tins, the sausages are packed in lard.
A popular brand in the Philippines is Marca El Rey Chorizo, usually available tinned there. In America, this brand is also available frozen because it is actually made in Nebraska, USA. The brand is owned by Conagra (as of 2008.)
Chorizo de Bilbao is expensive — about $32 US for a 4 pound tin (2008 prices.)
To use, you slice and use in small amounts as a flavouring ingredient in recipes such as paella, callos or pesang manok.
Linguica; other spicy sausages such as pepperoni or kielbasa.
Homemade ones, per 6 sausages, 8 3/4 oz (250g)
Commercial ones, about 2 1/2 oz (70g) each.
The vacuum-sealed packages have only 2 sausages in them, and weigh about 5 oz in total (140g.)
Stores for a long time in the refrigerator.
Chorizo de Bilbao originated in the Basque area of Spain.
Meat Processing Guide. Philippines Department of Agriculture. Livestock and Poultry Website. (Alice A. Laput, In-charge, Animal Products and By-products Utilization Unit.) Retrieved November 2008 from http://daweb.da.gov.ph/cebu_livestockpoultry/meat_processing/rchorizo_deBilbao.html