Episode 404: Influential Grilling

Wood-Grilled Chorizo with Pickled Onions, Cheese, and Chimichurri

Wood-Grilled Chorizo with Pickled Onions, Cheese and Chimichurri

Other Recipes from Episode 404: Influential Grilling

Recipe courtesy of Derek Wolf (


Wood-Grilled Chorizo with Pickled Onions, Cheese, and Chimichurri

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: At least 1 hour for pickling the onions
  • Yield: Makes 8 sandwiches
  • Method: Grilling in the embers (“cavemanning”)/indirect grilling


For the pickled onions:

  • 2 red onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and very thinly sliced
  • 2 red onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and very thinly sliced
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt (sea or kosher)

For the chimichurri:

  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 3 serrano or jalapeño chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and encased in foil
  • 1 bunch each parsley, cilantro, and mint
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 raw (Mexican-style) chorizo sausages
  • 1 cup grated pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or other melting cheese
  • 8 sub or hero rolls, cut through the side and opened like a book

You’ll also need:

  • A large 2-pronged skewer or 2 long metal skewers; aluminum foil; food processor; grill hoe

Recipe Steps

1: Set up a grill for direct grilling and heat to high.

2: Pack the onions in two 16-ounce canning jars. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and stir until the salt and sugar crystals dissolve. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat on the stove-top or your grill’s side burner. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions and let them sit for at least 1 hour. Replace the jar lids once the onions are cool. The onions can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

3: Arrange the poblanos, serranos, and foiled garlic in directly in the coals. Grill, turning with tongs, until the skin on the chilies is blistered and blackened, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

4: (Remove the foiled garlic after 3 to 4 minutes.) Let cool, then stem and seed the peppers and scrape off any really burnt skin. Coarsely chop the chiles and the garlic and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the herbs and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Pour olive oil in through the feed tube with the machine running until the mixture takes on a sauce-like consistency. Add red wine vinegar to taste, a tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, adding more olive oil, vinegar, or salt and pepper. Set aside.

5: In the meantime, set up the grill for indirect grilling by pushing the coals into piles on opposite sides of the grill. Add more fuel, if necessary, to maintain medium-high heat.

6: Arrange the chorizo sausages side-by-side on your work surface. (They typically curve; arrange them facing the same way.) Run a long double-pronged metal skewer through the sides of the sausages. (Lacking a double-pronged skewer, use two long metal skewers in a parallel configuration.)

7: Indirect grill the sausages until they are cooked through (160 degrees), about 15 minutes. Just before the sausages are done, sprinkle the tops with the cheese; continue to cook until the cheese melts.

8: Toast the buns, cut sides down, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

9: To serve, place a sausage in a bun. Top with a spoonful of chimichurri and drained pickled onions. Repeat with the remaining buns and sausages.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 4:

Crowd Cow
Kalamazoo Grill Nomad Grill
Start N Grill Workman Publishing

Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2022 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein