The Chori-Man sounds like superhero, and, in a sense, he is: saving San Pedro from the mediocre chorizo that most places sell. The typical chorizo experience is very salty and marked with lip-staining grease. Most of this sausage comes from one of a few industrial chorizo makers that supply Mexican restaurants in Southern California. The products are tasty, sure, but nothing special. It’s the kind of stuff that’s best mixed into eggs or soup, like salt pork. Chori-man makes his own Chorizos. That’s right: multiple versions, and they’re all excellent.
Humberto Raygoza first started making chorizo in his apartment. When he made too much of it, he sold it out of coolers on the street. Over time, he earned enough supporters to build a shop in San Pedro, which is L.A.’s hard-times harbor district.
He draws from three disparate Latino sausage traditions to form the menu. From Zacatecas, there is the rich red version that most of us associate with chorizo. Made with fresh pork rather than cured, but still rich and oily, it’s a decedent of Spanish chorizo. This flagship chorizo is a fourth-generation family recipe that Humberto makes from a secret blend of spices and vinegars.
From Toulca, Mexico’s chorizo capital, is the green version that is verdant from spinach and cilantro. This is our favorite style of chorizo, and it’s very difficult to find in the U.S. Then there is the wine scented Argentine version that you might find next to a steak on a perilla. In addition to this, the Chori-Man makes a mean chipotle-braised beef.
While the meats are traditional, the burritos are more American in character. You can get your choice of meat either in a classic potato, egg and cheese breakfast burrito, or with “chori-beans,” which are pink beans refried in chorizo oil. Tortas, quesadillas and tacos also are available, as well as regular seasonal specials. For us, the Tolucan green chorizo as a bean burrito is the ideal Chori-Man experience. This is one of Southern California’s best burritos, and it’s worth traveling out to Pedro. If you don’t want to haul out, the chorizo is available at several boutique Los Angeles grocers for at-home use. Our imaginations stir with possible uses for this superb sausage.