Ever seen a picture of an Argentine asado and wondered what that black thing that looks like a sausage is? Today, I’ll be presenting you with morcilla, also known as black pudding. Very similar to chorizo and very different at the same time, it’s a big part of asados and Argentine culture. Keep on reading to learn more!

What is Morcilla and how is it made?

The ingredients of morcilla may not sound tasty, but their combination is! The process typically begins with a base of pig’s blood, mixed with ingredients such as onions, fat, and spices. This mixture is then stuffed into a casing, often made from the pig’s intestine or synthetic materials, and finally grilled in the Argentine parrilla. 

The result? A savory sausage with a distinctive dark color and rich taste, ready to be enjoyed alone or with bread, just like choripan.

How are Morcilla and chorizo different?

Morcilla and chorizo are both sausages meant to be grilled in Argentine asado, each offering a unique flavor. This happens because, while morcilla is primarily made from pig’s blood, chorizo is prepared with ground pork and beef seasoned with paprika, garlic, and other spices. 

This means that they have distinct tastes and textures. Morcilla has an earthy flavor and soft texture, which contrasts with the spiciness and firmness of chorizo.

How to grill morcilla perfectly

Grilling morcilla to perfection requires attention to detail and a few key techniques I’m sharing with you below:

morcillas

Selecting the right morcilla 

Start by choosing high-quality morcilla from a reputable source. Look for fresh morcilla with a bright color and firm texture. Before grilling, allow the morcilla to come to room temperature for even cooking throughout the sausage. 

Preparing your grill

Preheat your grill to medium heat (around 350-400°F or 175-200°C) and a pro tip: bbrush the grates with oil to prevent sticking and ensure easy flipping. I also recommend that you grill your morcilla indirectly (that is, without putting it directly above the embers), as this softer heat will cook the meat slowly, ideal for thicker sausages.

Beware of overcooking your morcilla

If you overcook it or get too aggressive with the heat, the outer casing will burst and leave quite a mess for you to clear up! 

what is morcilla

Grilling your blood sausage 

Place the morcilla on the preheated grill and cook for 10-12 minutes per side, rotating occasionally. You’ll realize it’s done because the casings will be evenly browned. You can also use a meat thermometer, ensuring it has at least 160°F (71°C) for food safety.

Serving Suggestions

Different from what happens with chorizos, morcillas are generally sliced open long ways, and the ingredients scooped out and often put on bread. Some people prefer to eat it while it’s cold, like a salamín.

But if you’ll eat it while it’s still hot, consider that your grilled morcilla will pair well with many accompaniments, such as crusty bread, grilled vegetables, or a simple salad. You can also get creative and experiment with different marinades, such as a simple drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or some chimichurri. 

How does morcilla taste?

Morcilla has a unique taste I can describe as earthy, as the primary flavor comes from the pig’s blood used in its preparation which has a metallic undertone. However, this is balanced by other ingredients such as onions, fat, and spices. 

Of course, this taste will depend on the type of morcilla you’re eating, as there are many regional varieties. Let me expand on this below: 

Morcilla varieties

  • Morcilla de Arroz: This variety of morcilla, obviously 😄, uses rice as a filler and has a more tender texture compared to other varieties. Morcilla de Arroz is popular in regions like Castile and León and even Portugal. 
  • Morcilla de Cebolla: Onion morcilla is a sweeter type most commonly found in regions like Asturias and Basque Country, where it is enjoyed sliced, cold, and as a tapa.
  • Morcilla criolla: this is the one eaten in Argentine cuisine, made of pork and beef, and seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices. 

Whichever morcilla you prefer, you won’t regret it. Next time you gather with friends and family for your next barbecue, consider incorporating morcilla into your Argentine parrilla. Whether served alongside vacío, choripanes, or grilled vegetables, morcilla will certainly elevate your experience and make it much more unique. 

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