A type of pork sausage contained in contained in a natural case of intestines, a method used since Roman times, chorizo (Spanish) or chouriço (Portuguese) comes is a number of different regional varieties. While the Spanish have always made it with smoked paprika, in South America, particularly Mexico, it is made with native chilli peppers, since in the past the cost of importing the paprika was too high. Spanish-American cuisine also adds vinegar rather than the white wine used in Spain.
In Europe, it is more generally a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, in which case it is eaten without cooking and can be added as an ingredient to flavour other dishes. In Spain and Portugal, the distinctive smoky flavour and red colour come from using dried smoked red peppers.
Chorizo can be sliced and used in a sandwich, it can be grilled, fried, or simmered in liquids such as apple cider or other alcohols.
Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat. Depending on the type of smoked paprika used it is classed either as picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet). Within Spain, hundreds of different regional varieties exist. For example, in some areas the meat may be more finely ground than in others. In some areas, air drying is used.