Chaurice (shore-EESE) is a Creole sausage that is comparable to Spanish chorizo and, like chorizo, there seems to be a huge number of versions out there. Some versions are hotter than others. Chaurice is considered the hottest in Creole and Cajun cuisine. It was a favorite in Louisiana dating back to the 19th century, and it’s believed to have come to Louisiana with the Spanish. It is generally fresh, but can be cold or hot smoked. I found that this version is not much hotter than a hot Italian sausage, but my relatives and friends do consider this hot.
- 4 lb. Pork Butt, cubed
- 1 lb. Pork Fat Back or Pork Fat, cubed
- 1 Medium Yellow Onions, Coarsely Chopped (about 7-9 ounces)
- 1/4 cup New Mexico Chile Powder; aka Anaheim or (Paprika)
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (1.5 ounces)
- 2 Tbsp Morton Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbsp Cayenne
- 1 Tbsp Hot Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Dried Thyme Leaves, Crushed
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 3/4 tsp Ground Allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp White Sugar
- 3 Bay Leaves, finely crushed
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Broad leaf Parsley, chopped (about 1 ounce)
- 1 1/4 tsp Pink salt (optional, but must be added if you plan to smoke the sausage)
- 10 feet of 32-35 mm hog casing (optional), soaked and rinsed.
- Blanch onions in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from water, drain, and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Note: I prefer to mince, and saute the onions in a pan lightly sprayed with oil, cool; then add to the ground meat mixture. This way I get onions that are consistent in size. Make sure you do not brown the onions.
- In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients (except the pork and parsley) and mix well. Put pork in a large bowl, and add mixed ingredients to the pork. Toss to coat the meat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but not more then 24 hours. Note: I like to let it set overnight; approximately 10-12 hours.
- Ensure that all equipment and meat are cold; grind the meat into a bowl set in ice with a meat grinder fitted with 1/4-inch die. Note:If you want a coarse textured sausage use a 3/8 or 1/2-inch die, or coarsely chop meat in a food processor.
- Once ground, you can form sausage into patties, or logs, or stuff mixture into prepared 32-35 mm hog casings, or casings of your choice. If you are stuffing the sausage, form into 6 inch links, or into rings.
- At this stage you can leave uncooked, cooked or smoked before refrigerating and/or freezing for longer storage.
Chaurice sausage is generally not cooked ahead of time, but can be cooked in advance for convenience.
- Lightly oil a large pan, or griddle, making sure there is plenty of room between the sausages; at least 1/2 an inch. If necessary, cook in batches.
- Preheat the pan over medium-low heat, and place sausage in pan (do not crowd). Cook until the bottom of the sausage has nicely browned. Using tongs turn sausages over.
- After turning the sausage, cover and continue to cook for 8 minutes.
- Remove lid and check the temperature. The internal temperature should be 148 degrees F to 150 degrees F. If the sausage has not reached that temperature, continue to cook with lid off.
- Remove from heat and serve with rice or beans or both. Otherwise refrigerate, or freeze after sausage has cooled.
Chaurice sausage is generally not smoked, but it smokes up nicely for easy future use.
NOTE: If you are going to smoke the sausage by these instructions, you needed to have added the pink salt. Just take note that the added pink salt does alter the flavour. If you did not add the pink salt, your only smoking option is to smoke/cook at 225 degrees F or above (with no drying period) until the sausage has reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
- Prior to applying smoke, you need to air dry the sausage. You can do this either by air drying uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, or placing them on a kitchen counter in front of a fan until the casings are dry, or placing them in a preheated 110-120 degree F smoker with the vent wide open for about an 30 minutes to an hour until the sausage is dry to the touch. Note: You can either arrange the sausage on the racks, or hang from dowels that have been cut to fit the smoker.
- After sausage has dried, close the vent to 1/4 open, and increase the heat to 130-140 degrees F, and apply 2-3 hours of smoke. Note: If you had dried your sausage in the smoker, rotate the racks for top to bottom, and front to back; before applying smoke. If they are hanging by dowels rotate from front to back. I prefer to lay them on racks, for easier rotating. I used pecan for the smoke flavour, but maple, apple or hickory can be used.
- After smoke has been applied, rotate sausage again. Raise the cabinet temperature to 170-180 degrees F, and continue to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.
- Remove sausage from smoker, and immediately shock in an ice water bath until the sausage has cooled, and to stop the cooking process.
- Remove sausage from bath; air dry, or pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.
- Chaurice is great as a side dish to white rice or red beans or red beans and rice. Since chaurice has such a savory flavour, it can also be used as a seasoning meat in Gumbo, cabbage, lentils, potatoes, and many other one pot meals. The milder version is good for a breakfast of sausage and eggs, or crumbled up and cooked with scrambled eggs. It is also a great pizza topping.
- Pork fat seems to work better than fat back, for this recipe.
- For best flavour use the New Mexico ground chili.
- For a milder sausage, reduce the cayenne pepper to 1 teaspoon, and reduce the crushed pepper to 2 teaspoons or use a milder crushed pepper. In future batches you can adjust up until you find the heat level you prefer.
- I find braising or poaching is the best way to reheat cooked sausage, but grilling, roasting and pan frying also works well. For a quick snack microwave thawed sausage for 30 to 45 seconds, turning the sausage over every 15 seconds.
Recipe Credit: Habanero Smoker