Whether it’s heavenly jamón ibérico or bold, flavorful chorizo, it’s almost impossible to visit Spain without trying Spanish charcuterie. And while ham and chorizo are usually highly praised, there are dozens of other cured meats that are just as delicious.
Each region of Spain produces sausages with different spices and aging methods. Some use Paprika de la Vera, others a combination of spices such as bay leaves, rosemary and garlic. The vast majority of Spanish sausages are made from pork, although beef also plays a role in some northern regions.
In this article, we briefly present 11 of the most important sausages in Spanish gastronomy.
Spanish ham is the undisputed king of Spanish cured meats. But not all Spanish hams are the same, there are different qualities depending on the breed of pig, the feed or the curing period. Although there are many different breeds of pigs in Spain, we generally speak of two main types of ham: Serrano ham and Iberian ham. The pigs used for Serrano ham are usually common white-footed breeds such as the Duroc. The pride of Spanish ham is the Pata Negra ham, which comes from the Iberian breed of pigs native to Spain and Portugal and fed on acorns during the Montanera.
There are different forms of chorizo, each with different shapes, thicknesses and degrees of spiciness, but the basic principles are always the same: pork, bacon, peppers from La Vera, garlic and salt.
On this basis you can find spicier chorizos like those from León, smoked ones like the Asturian ones or Iberian ones like those made in Jabugo with Iberian breed pigs.
3. Pork loin
Lomo is made from the homonymous part of white and Iberian pigs. This sausage is left practically whole and untouched during the aging process. Only a little salt and paprika are added, giving it a mild and delicate flavor.
The best Iberian loins are highly prized (almost as much as ham) and are characterized by the fact that they are eaten at the streaked with fat, similar to Wagyu meat.
Similar to chorizo, salchichón is made with minced pork and bacon, then slowly cured in drying sheds in the cold mountain air, often with smoke. The difference is in the spices. While chorizo is red with paprika, salchichón is mostly dark brown with black pepper.
Because of its mild flavor, it is one of the sausages most consumed by all family members and is found in many rural areas of Spain it is still common for each family to make their own salchichón.
Paletilla is almost the same as ham but is made from the front legs of the pig. Just like the ham, there is the Serrano shoulder and the Iberian shoulder. The main difference with the ham is that the ham shoulder is smaller and has more bones and therefore less meat, but it is usually juicier than ham because it contains more fat.
In some Spanish cities , such as For example, in Seville, a large majority of customers in tapas bars prefer the Paletilla to the Jamón, which reflects the high quality of this sausage.
Sobrasada is a typical sausage from Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands, which is often confused with chorizo. This is due to its reddish-orange appearance and color and the fact that it is also made with peppers and pork.
However, the sobrassada is prepared in a different way: the black Mallorcan Pork is ground finely, mixed with salt, paprika and other spices and stuffed into a wide intestine. The result is a kind of spicy pie that is usually eaten on toasted bread.
7. Black pudding
Blood sausage is a very different product depending on the area of Spain in which it is found. The most popular black pudding comes from the city of Burgos, where pig’s blood is mixed with rice, red pepper, salt and onion and stuffed into intestines.
In other areas, the morcilla is prepared with other ingredients, in Jabugo it is meat and other seasonings are also added, resulting in a sausage that resembles the chorizo. In Extremadura, morcilla patetera is made with potatoes and peppers, which looks similar to sobrassada.
Fuet can be recognized by the thin layer of white mold that surrounds the case. This hard sausage from Catalonia has a characteristic pork flavor with ground black pepper and garlic. When sliced, it tastes and looks similar to salami.
Cecina is beef’s answer to Spanish ham. The most common cecina in León is made from a cow’s hindquarters, aged for over 7 months. The result is a burgundy cured meat, sliced into thin strips and served with a light drizzle of olive oil. The taste is more intense than that of pork.
Chistorras are like mini sausages, usually stuffed in thin lamb casings and only mature for a few days, so they need to be cooked before eating. Spiced with paprika, these sausages are usually fried together with eggs and potatoes.
The botillo, with its strange reddish lumpy shape, looks strange but tastes fantastic. It is said that every piece of pork that the butcher doesn’t know what to do with is stuffed into a thick sack of tripe with lots of paprika, salt and garlic to make botillo. This sausage is typical of the Leonese region of El Bierzo and its name derives from the Latin word botellus which means pig intestines.