Spain’s Famous Sausages! Here are 10 of the Best!
If you’ve ever been to Spain or visited an authentic Spanish tapas bar, chances are you’ll have sampled some slices of delicious dry sausage to enjoy with your beer, wine, or other beverage.
Dried sausages are an integral part of Spanish food culture, and as with most Spanish cuisine, there are endless regional specialties to taste and enjoy.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best-known and tastiest varieties, and we encourage you to try them for yourself, either in Spain or from the local deli counter!
Fuet is a traditional dry-cured Catalan sausage with a flavor ranging from slightly spicy to very spicy. It’s made with pork stuffed into a natural pork casing.
This thin sausage is a popular sandwich filling, sliced on the diagonal and stuffed between slices of crusty bread that have been rubbed with olive oil or ripe tomatoes. It’s also added to soups and casseroles to add extra bite and flavor. You’ll find versions flavored with garlic, aniseed, or black pepper.
Fuet is easy to recognize as it is covered in distinctive white mold, which has a pleasant aroma. While this is soft and easy to remove, most people don’t bother. There’s a well-known saying: ‘Siempre que el hongo sea bueno, es el perfume del fuet’ (While the mold is good, it’s the perfume of the fuet’).
This popular sausage is now manufactured all over Spain, so you’ll find regional variations in the recipe. Some even include nuts or figs!
2. Sobrasada de Mallorca
Sobresada de Mallorca has a long and proud history, having been produced on this Balearic island since the 16th century.
In the 18th century, the basic recipe was transformed with the addition of paprika, changing its look and taste.
Today you’ll find different types of sobrasada on the market which come in slightly different shapes and weights. The most interesting is Black Pig sobrasada, which is made exclusively from the meat of the indigenous Mallorcan black pigs.
What all the varieties of sobrasada have in common is that they’re made exclusively of pork, paprika, salt, and pepper, without any added natural or artificial colorings.
So they’re healthy and natural as well as being delicious!
3. Spanish Salami
Salami is made all over the world and is particularly well known in Italy, Hungary, and Poland.
Ingredients vary. It can be made from a mix of ground pork, beef, and pork fat, stuffed into straight casings before being dried and smoked. As it matures, it acquires its distinctive flavor and aroma.
Spanish salami is available in two qualities: extra and 1st grade, which is considered superior.
Traditionally, salami is made in a process similar to that of other dry sausages such as salchichόn or chorizo. It’s quite similar to Italian salami as little or no sugar is added and pimentόn is not used.
From its humble origins as a way of preserving pork, Chorizo is a fermented dry sausage enjoyed all over Spain as a tapa or filling for a bocadillo.
Originally it was made with lean pork loin, but these days fattier meat is typically used.
This iconic Spanish sausage now combines ground pork or a mix of pork and beef, pork fat, salt, pimentón, other spices, certain flavorings such as oregano and nutmeg, and other additives. The mixture is stuffed into casings which may be natural or artificial.
Chorizo may be smoked as part of the drying process, which will produce the distinctive orange-red hue, taste, and flavor. Chorizos usually have a rough exterior and a firm texture
The exception is chorizo blanco (white chorizo), which doesn’t include pimentόn but meets all the other requirements to earn the label of ‘chorizo’. Chorizo blanco dates back to the days before Christopher Columbus introduced pimentón from the New World, into Spain at the end of the 15th century.
There are many regional variations on the basic recipe. Chorizos from Pamplona and Soria include beef as well as pork and have a higher fat content than typical chorizos. Chorizo de Cantimpalos, produced in the province of Segovia from a local pig breed, is a characteristic dark red marbled with white fat. Mild, smooth, and juicy, it has a wonderful aroma.
Chorizo Riojano is an additive-free, hand-made cured pork sausage typically produced in the autonomous community of La Rioja. Only pepper and garlic are used to create the intense flavor.
All of these are well worth looking out for as a special Spanish treat!
5. Longaniza de Pascua
As the name suggests, Longaniza de Pascua, a Valencian dry sausage, is traditionally made around Easter (Pascua).
This sausage combines pork fat with equal parts of lean pork and beef. In addition to salt and pepper, aniseed is used to give it a unique flavor and aroma.
The mixture is stuffed into natural casings before being tied with string and cured for between 7 and 10 days.
6. Lomo Embuchado (Stuffed Pork Loin)
Lomo embuchado (stuffed loin) is made from one entire pork loin muscle, trimmed to ensure it’s free of external fat, tendons, and membrane. The meat is marinated in salt before being stuffed into cylindrical casings, which may be natural or artificial.
Once the drying process is complete, the casing may be covered with mold.
When sliced, lomo embuchado holds its shape well. The texture is solid and the sausage may be pink or red. The flavor will vary according to how it’s been spiced. Nutmeg is sometimes added as well as pimentón.
You’ll find it thinly sliced and served as a tapa, or sandwiched between chunks of bread as a bocadillo. It can also be used to add flavor to stews.
7. Caña de Lomo
Although related to lomo embuchado, this is quite distinct.
Also made from Iberian pork loin, this mouthwatering sausage originates from the province of Huelva. The deep red color of the meat contrasts with the white streaks of fat. In addition to salt, it may be seasoned with garlic, lemon, paprika, oregano, and olive oil.
After the mixture has been cured for several days, it’s placed into its casings, ripened, and left to air dry for at least 80 days (as required by Spanish law).
Caña de lomo is traditionally cut into thin slices and enjoyed as a tapa or as a bocadillo.
Salchichón is a firm Spanish sausage with quite a large diameter. It can be up to 55cm long, and the natural or artificial casings may be straight or shaped into a loop.
Salchichón combines ground pork (or pork and beef), fat, salt, spices, and additives (which may include sugar and sodium nitrate). The mixture is dried and matured to produce the characteristic flavor and aroma,
Although it’s most often compared to Italian salami, salchichón is a premium sausage made from top-quality meat. It is the second most popular sausage in Spain, coming a close second to chorizo.
What distinguishes salchichón from chorizo? No paprika is added to salchichón, so it’s a pure deep red, rather than the orangey-red of chorizo.
Classic salchichón is seasoned with black pepper only. However, as it’s now produced all over Spain, you’ll find many regional variations on the original recipe. The black pepper may be whole or ground. Nutmeg, cilantro, and sherry are also added to some varieties. Commercial producers may also add nitrates and phosphate.
Salchichón is served as a snack on its own, perhaps with olives and a glass of wine, in sandwiches or as a side dish.
9. Chosco de Tineo
This typical Spanish pork sausage is traditionally produced in the Principality of Asturias. Pork loin and tongue meats are simply seasoned with salt, paprika, and garlic and stuffed into pork intestines.
It’s dried by cold-smoking for at least eight days using oak, birch, beech, or chestnut wood. The result is a characteristic bright red color and a flavor that’s both sweet and smoky.
Once a well-kept secret and only enjoyed by the locals, chosco de tineo is now so well-loved that every August a festival is held in its honor!
Secallona is a very dry, wrinkled U-shaped sausage, usually about 50 cm long.
Occasionally you’ll find it covered with mold, a bit like fuet, (which has a larger diameter and always has a mold covering). This mold has a pleasant aroma and can be eaten as part of the overall experience.
Somalia is very similar to secallona but is far juicier.
To end our gastronomic tour, we have to mention salchichas. These are soft, raw sausages that can be red or white.
They’re typically made from finely minced pork (or pork and beef) although occasionally lamb, chicken, or game are used. The meat is mixed with pork fat and placed in natural or synthetic casings, with a maximum diameter of 28 mm.
While they can be stored for up to seven days in the refrigerator, or placed in a freezer, they must be fully thawed and either frying, grilling, poaching, or added to stews. The color will vary according to whether paprika has been included.
Salchichas that are cooked first and then smoked are known as tipo Viena. Finally, a world away from the hand-made, traditional sausages we’ve been looking at, a somewhat dishonorable mention must go to the ever-popular salchichas tipo Francfort.
These hot dog-style sausages are beloved by kids (and adults) the world over.
Who knows what goes into industrially-produced salchichas tipo Francfort? In addition to the basic pork, beef, or lamb they’re likely to contain flours, starches, powdered milk, sugar, soy protein, gum, colorings, antioxidants, sodium nitrite, flavorings, and water. Oh, and anything else that enhances the flavor artificially, prolongs the shelf-life, and isn’t forbidden by law!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the rich culture of traditional sausage making in Spain, and whether you’re in Spain or just visiting your local deli counter, you’ll be inspired to try out some of these delicious meaty treats.