Is Chorizo Made From Lymph Nodes (or Salivary Glands)?

Have you read the ingredients list on store bought sausage and been surprised by what you found?

We all know there is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the ingredients when it comes to pre-packaged sausage and hot dogs. We hear about things like pig snout, salivary glands, and even lymph nodes.

When it comes to these odd ingredients, many wonder – is chorizo made from lymph nodes? The short answer is yes, but it’s important to note that not all chorizo is made from lymph nodes.

It depends on how you’re getting it (are you making it yourself?) or where you’re buying it from. Keep reading for the details.

chorizo on a cutting board

What Is Chorizo Made Of?

Chorizo is a sausage that’s made of pork and has origins in both Spain and Mexico.

Chorizo from Spain is usually dried and cured, can be smoked, and can be either sweet or spicy. On the other hand, chorizo from Mexico is made fresh, then fully cooked and is usually spicy.

You’ll also find that Spanish chorizo is more coarsely chopped, while the meat in Mexican chorizo is more ground.

Chorizo is a heavily seasoned type of sausage. Spanish chorizo is made with a lot of paprika, while Mexican chorizo is made with vinegar and red chili peppers.

Each of these seasonings give the chorizo its deep red color. Other spices that can be used include garlic, cinnamon, clove, cumin, and oregano.

Similar sausages are Spain’s longaniza and Portugal’s linguica.

tray of red chorizo piled up on butcher counter

What Part of the Pig Is Chorizo Made From?

So is chorizo pork? Like all sausage, chorizo is made from the less expensive cuts of pork, and there’s no hard and fast rule for what parts of the pig should be used.

What it really all depends on is where you get it from (whether you make it yourself or buy it from the store).

If you look at most chorizo recipes to make at home, you’ll see that the only meat ingredient included is usually pork butt (also known as pork shoulder) or pork cheek.

If you’re purchasing commercially available chorizo (what you would find pre-packaged in the meat aisle of your grocery store), it’s often made with other parts of the animal like lymph nodes and salivary glands.

As far as chorizo from a grocery store meat counter or from a butcher goes, the part(s) of the animal used would be a question for the person you’re buying it from.

My guess is, since it would be made fresh at either of these locations, they wouldn’t contain lymph nodes or salivary glands. But again, if it concerns you, it’s always a good idea to ask!

raw pork on cutting board

Given that chorizo is made with pork, which is red meat, many people wonder if chorizo is considered red meat by association – click here to learn more.


What’s the primary difference between Spanish and Mexican chorizo?

Spanish chorizo is dried, cured, and can be either sweet or spicy, whereas Mexican chorizo is fresh and fully cooked, usually leaning towards the spicy side. The texture also differs; Spanish chorizo is coarser while Mexican chorizo is finely ground.

Are there health concerns related to consuming lymph nodes or salivary glands in chorizo?

Consuming lymph nodes or salivary glands in sausages, like chorizo, is safe and they pass the same food safety regulations as other meat products. However, some individuals prefer to avoid them due to personal preference.

If I buy chorizo from a restaurant, will it likely contain lymph nodes or salivary glands?

Chorizo used in restaurants is usually sourced commercially, so there’s a chance it could contain lymph nodes or salivary glands. If you’re concerned, always ask the establishment about the ingredients they use.

Are lymph nodes and salivary glands unique to chorizo, or are they found in other sausages as well?

Lymph nodes and salivary glands are not unique to chorizo. Many commercially available sausages or processed meats might contain these parts, especially those that are aiming to utilize the whole animal or cut down on waste.

Why would manufacturers choose to use lymph nodes or salivary glands in chorizo?

Lymph nodes and salivary glands, like many other off-cuts of meat, are more cost-effective. Including these parts in sausage production helps in reducing waste and can contribute to the sausage’s flavor and texture.

In Summary

Now you know that chorizo certainly can contain parts of the pig like lymph nodes and salivary glands, but this is usually limited to commercially available chorizo.

You can control your consumption of this by being careful with how you get your chorizo.

I always recommend making it yourself, so you know exactly what’s going in it. Or, you can get it from a butcher or at the meat counter of your grocery store – just be sure to ask about the ingredients before buying it!

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