Grilled Mexican Chorizo With Spicy Tomato-Caper Sauce Recipe

Better sausages start in a bath—in this case, spicy Mexican chorizo in a simple tomato sauce with olives, capers, and cilantro.

J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Cooking the sausages directly in the tomato sauce, placed in a pan over the grill, allows them to soak up flavor from both the tomato sauce and the smoke of the grill.
  • A tangy, briny caper- and olive-infused tomato sauce complements the chorizo.

How to ensure grilled sausages that are evenly cooked throughout on the inside, yet crisp and well browned on the outside? Poach them in a flavorful bath directly over the grill, then move them to the hotter side of the grate to char them. Here, spicy, tart Mexican chorizo soaks up flavor from a simple tomato sauce with olives, capers, and cilantro.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) cumin
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) chili powder
  • 1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained, broken up by hand into rough chunks
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or black olives
  • 1/4 cup (7g) chopped cilantro, plus more for serving if desired
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds (900g) fresh raw Mexican chorizo sausages
  • Lime wedges and warmed corn tortillas, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, capers, olives, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  3. Transfer tomato mixture to a 10-inch-square disposable aluminum pan. (Alternatively, construct a tray out of a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 10 inches square, with sides about 2 inches high.) Nestle sausages into mixture.

  4. Place tray on hot side of grill and cook until simmering, about 4 minutes. Slide to cooler side of grill. Cover grill, with vents over sausages. Cook with all vents open until sausages register 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.

  5. Remove lid. Using tongs, remove sausages from sauce and place directly on cooking grate over hot side of grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes total. Return to sauce. Serve immediately, garnishing with extra cilantro, lime wedges, and tortillas as desired.

Special equipment

Grill, 10-inch square disposable aluminum pan, instant-read thermometer

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