Longaniza is a type of pork sausage that originated in Spain and is popular in many Latin American countries. It is typically seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices. Longaniza can be grilled, but there are some things to keep in mind when cooking it on the grill to ensure the best results.
What is longaniza?
Longaniza refers to a variety of pork sausages that are popular in Spanish-speaking countries. The sausages are seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices like cumin, oregano, and coriander. There are many regional variations, but in general longaniza sausages are made from finely ground pork that is stuffed into casings before being seasoned and cured.
Some key characteristics of longaniza:
– Made from seasoned, cured pork
– Often include garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, coriander
– Regional variations exist
– Stuffed into a casing before curing
-Sometimes dried and smoked as part of the curing process
Is longaniza suitable for grilling?
Yes, longaniza can absolutely be grilled! The smoked sausage pairs well with the flavor imparted by the grill. Grilling is a great way to quickly cook longaniza while adding nice char and smoky notes.
Longaniza holds up well on the grill because it has been cured and dried. The curing process helps the sausage keep its shape instead of breaking apart. The dryness also means you don’t have to worry as much about flare ups from fat dripping.
Make sure to use a moderate heat when grilling longaniza. Too high of heat can cause excess charring or drying out. Grilling over indirect heat is also an option to gently cook the sausages.
Tips for grilling longaniza
Follow these tips for the best results when cooking longaniza on the grill:
– Use a moderate heat. Longaniza can burn or dry out over very high heat. Keep temperatures between 325-375°F.
– Grill over indirect heat to cook evenly. Place the sausages away from the hottest part of the grill.
– Slice or poke holes before grilling. This prevents exploding or cracking of the casing.
– Grill on all sides until browned. Roll and rotate for even cooking.
– Glaze or baste while grilling. Brush with oil, vinegar, or other glazes to add flavor and moisture.
– Grill for 8-12 minutes total. Cook times vary based on thickness.
– Check internal temperature. Cook to at least 160°F for food safety.
– Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows juices to redistribute.
Grilling Methods for Longaniza
There are a few different ways you can grill longaniza to get the best results:
1. Direct Grilling
The most straightforward grilling method is direct grilling right over the heat source. This involves placing the sausages directly over hot coals or flaming gas grill burners. Direct high heat helps get a nice char and caramelization on the outside of the longaniza.
Be sure to keep a close eye on the sausages when grilling directly to avoid excess charring. Flip and rotate the longaniza frequently. Adding a glaze and basting the sausages as they cook can help prevent burning.
2. Indirect Grilling
For a more gentle cooking method, use indirect heat to grill longaniza. This involves placing the sausages to the side or above the direct flames and coals. The indirect heat circulates around the sausages to slowly and evenly cook the interior.
Indirect grilling can make it easier to achieve the proper internal temperature without over-charring the outside. Adding hardwood chips or chunks to generate smoke can also add flavor during indirect grilling.
3. Two-Zone Grilling
A two-zone fire setup takes advantage of both direct and indirect heat. To do this, pile coals or turn gas burners on high on one side of the grill, leaving the other side with less or no direct heat.
Start by searing the longaniza over the hot zone to get color and flavor. Then move the sausages to the cooler side to finish cooking through without burning. This gives you the char from direct heat plus gentle cooking from indirect heat.
Grilling Recipes for Longaniza
In addition to grilling plain longaniza, there are many delicious recipes that feature the sausage. Here are some great ways to use longaniza on the grill:
Longaniza and Vegetable Kebabs
– Thread pieces of longaniza onto skewers alternating with vegetables like bell peppers, onions, zucchini or pineapple.
– Brush with a chimichurri marinade.
– Grill over direct heat, turning occasionally until browned and cooked through.
Grilled Longaniza Tacos
– Warm corn or flour tortillas on the grill.
– Chop grilled longaniza and mix with sautéed peppers and onions.
– Top tortillas with longaniza mixture, cilantro, cotija cheese, and lime.
– Grill cubed potatoes and longaniza pieces.
– Chop and mix with peppers, onions, spinach and fried eggs.
– Season with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
Grilled Longaniza Sandwich
– Grill longaniza on a plank or foil.
– Place in a crusty bread roll and top with grilled onions, arugula, tomato, and basil aioli.
Longaniza Breakfast Pizza
– Grill longaniza slices until browned.
– Top pizza crust with sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, and roasted peppers.
– Finish on the grill.
What to Look for When Buying Longaniza for Grilling
When selecting longaniza for grilling, keep the following tips in mind:
– Look for sausages labeled “longaniza” or “longaniza fresca.” These are fresh, uncooked sausages.
– Avoid very thick sausages, which take longer to grill. Links around 1-2 inches in diameter are ideal.
– Seek out longaniza with a high meat to fat ratio. Too much fat can cause flare ups.
– Check the ingredients list. Look for pork, garlic, paprika, and spices like cumin.
– Opt for uncured varieties to limit sodium. Or rinse cured longaniza before grilling.
– Seek out Argentine or Colombian styles for the most authentic longaniza.
– For food safety, look for sausages that are refrigerated, not shelf-stable.
– Consider buying from a Latin market for the widest selection.
Grilling Safety Tips for Longaniza
To safely grill longaniza, keep these grilling safety tips in mind:
– Always grill in a well-ventilated area to prevent buildup of smoke or carbon monoxide.
– Use caution when adding lighter fluid. Only use approved grill starters.
– Clean the grill regularly to prevent grease fires or flare ups.
– Place the grill on a level, non-flammable surface away from overhangs or trees.
– Never leave the grill unattended, as conditions can quickly change.
– Use insulated mitts or gloves when handling the grill or sausages.
– Cook longaniza to an internal temperature of 160°F as measured by a food thermometer.
– Discard any sausages that have been sitting out for more than 2 hours.
– Refrigerate grilled leftovers within 2 hours and reheat fully to 165°F before serving again.
Following basic grilling and food safety practices will help prevent accidents when cooking longaniza on the grill.
FAQs About Grilling Longaniza
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cooking longaniza on the grill:
Should you boil longaniza before grilling?
Boiling before grilling is not necessary. Longaniza is already fully cooked so grilling just heats it through and adds flavor. Boiling can actually cause the sausage to split. You can grill it straight from the package.
What is the best fuel for grilling longaniza?
Longaniza can be grilled over any heat source. Charcoal or wood provide nice smoky flavor. Gas grills allow more temperature control. Opt for a lower or indirect heat setup to prevent burning.
How long does it take to grill longaniza?
Cook times vary but typically longaniza takes 8-12 minutes on the grill. Roll and flip every 2-3 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, aiming for at least 160°F internally.
Should you prick or slice longaniza before grilling?
It’s advisable to poke a few holes or slit the casing prior to grilling. This prevents the sausage from swelling up and bursting on the grill. Be careful not to pierce so much it falls apart.
Can you grill frozen longaniza?
It’s best to thaw frozen longaniza before grilling. Grilling from frozen can result in uneven cooking. Thaw in the fridge then grill as usual. Microwaving to partially thaw also works.
What is the difference between chorizo and longaniza?
While both are Spanish pork sausages, chorizo is made from coarsely ground pork and is seasoned with smoked paprika. Longaniza features finely ground pork and is seasoned with garlic and paprika.
Longaniza is a flavorful sausage that takes well to grilling. With its Spainish-style seasonings, it pairs deliciously with the smoky char imparted by the grill. While grilling this sausage takes a bit of care, the results are well worth it.
Whether using a direct, indirect, or two-zone grilling method, keep the heat moderate. Slice or poke holes in the sausages before placing them on the hot grill. Rotate frequently while grilling over the direct heat and basting with flavorful glazes or oil.
Incorporate longaniza into kebabs, tacos, sandwiches, pizza and more for an easy way to add bold Spanish flavors to your grilling. With the proper precautions, grilling longaniza can deliver big taste without the hassles.