For a few years during my tenure as a line cook at The Elk Public House in Spokane, Washington, we offered a chorizo torta—a chorizo sausage patty chargrilled and topped with melted, gooey queso and roasted poblano peppers, all served atop a sliced Telera roll with chipotle mayo. The sandwich was a major hit. For this recipe, I wanted to create something similar but incorporate ground venison instead of pork.
Chorizo sausage, when made correctly, is a complex layer of flavors—spicy, savory, and a hint of sweet. Each bite should be a merry-go-round for your tastebuds. This recipe requires some sausage-making skills, so you may want to review the F&S Complete Guide to Making Sausage, or How to Make Sausage Without a Grinder. Because we’re making sausage patties for this recipe, you don’t have to worry about stuffing casings, which I believe is the most cumbersome step in sausage-making.
For the bun, your best options are Bolillo or Telera bread. If you can’t find these, ciabatta buns would work in a pinch. The ingredients below are for a big batch, but I’ve included percentages so you can scale the recipe to any amount of ground meat. My logic always is: If you’re making sausage, make a big batch. You can always freeze what you don’t immediately use.
Makes 12 tortas
Meat (2,268 grams total)
- 3 pounds venison (60%)
- 2 pounds pork back fat (40%)
- 34 grams kosher salt (1.5%)
- 17 grams chipotle powder (0.75%)
- 11 grams chili powder (0.5%)
- 11 grams guajillo powder (0.5%)
- 11 grams ground black pepper (0.5%)
- 8 grams paprika (0.35%)
- 8 grams cumin (0.35%)
- 8 grams coriander (0.35%)
- 8 grams granulated garlic (0.35%)
- 4 grams oregano (0.18%)
- 4 grams ground thyme (0.18%)
- 4 grams onion powder (0.18%)
- 2 grams ground all-spice (0.09%)
- 2 grams ground cinnamon (0.09%)
- 10 grams C-Bind per 5 pounds
- 1/4 cup ice-cold tequila
- 3/4 cup ice water per 5 pounds
Torta Toppings (numbers below reflect serving 12 6-ounce chorizo patties):
- 12 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 20 ounces Queso fresco
- 12 medium yellow onions, caramelized
- Cooking oil
- Salted butter
- 12 Bolillos, sliced
- 1/4 cup of chipotle puree (chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pureed in food processor or blender)
- 1/4 cup honey
2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper
Use a dry goods scale to measure out the meat then set the scale to metric and measure your ingredients for the spice mix. Combine spice mix in a bowl and set aside. Make absolutely sure meat and fat stay ice-cold and grind once through a course grinding plate. Add spice mix and coat the meat, then grind a second time. If meat ever gets above 35 degrees Fahrenheit, add to the freezer until it’s ice-cold again.
Using either a meat mixer or your hands, mix the meat for three minutes. Make sure it stays ice-cold. While mixing, add ice-cold tequila and ice water. Mix for another minute, then add C-Bind and continue to mix. Set the sausage mixture in the refrigerator while you get the sandwich toppings together.
To roast poblanos, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat the peppers with cooking oil and roast for 10 minutes then flip. Roast for another 5 minutes or until the skin is loose. Remove and immediately add to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in the fridge for a half-hour to sweat the peppers. After sweating, peel off the skin and remove all seeds and stems. Set aside until you’re ready to cook the chorizo.
To make the chipotle mayo, puree chipotle in adobo sauce in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of pureed chipotle to a mixing bowl with the remaining chipotle mayo ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside until ready to serve sandwiches.
To caramelize onions, slice onions into rings and add to a large skillet heated on medium-high. Add a thin layer of cooking oil. Sear onions then turn heat to medium-low. Lightly salt and pepper. Continue to stir frequently until the onions start to brown. Add a pat or two of salted butter and stir in to deglaze the pan. Set heat to low until ready to serve.
After you’ve made your toppings, form the chorizo into 6-ounce patties, and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a large oven-safe skillet on the stovetop over high heat and sear both sides of each patty. Top with roasted poblanos and queso fresco. Add the skillet to the oven for five minutes to finish cooking.
Slice and toast inside of Bolillo or Telera buns under the oven broiler or on a grill and spread the spicy mayo on one side. Add the cooked chorizo (topped with poblano and queso fresco) to the bottom bun and top with an ample helping of caramelized onions. Add the top bun and serve.