Home » Product Review » Ochoa’s Chorizo Store – The Best Chorizo in Orange County
Ochoa’s Chorizo Store – The Best Chorizo in Orange County
Ochoa's Chorizo Store - Air Drying out Chorizo

Ochoa’s Chorizo Store – The Best Chorizo in Orange County

The Best Chorizo in Orange County

Tom with Ochoa's with two meters of chorizo

Tom with Ochoa’s with two meters of chorizo

I grew up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of South Carson, at the border of Wilmington. Living in this neighborhood, everyone had “a guy” who made the best chorizo, tamales, or tortillas. Often, the chorizo was sold out of igloo coolers in shady street deals.  

Our family friend, Maria, had the best chorizo hookup. The nighttime chorizo drop offs usually involved an idling car and a quick exchange of cash for a paper bag full of chorizo. What followed was a binger of “chorizo in everything” meals from eggs to spaghetti. Hell, even the family dog got a taste of the meat crack.

Selling from the trunk

Selling from the trunk

When the family moved to South Orange County, over 15 years ago, we no longer had our chorizo dealer. I have visited carnecerias from Dana Point to Stanton and couldn’t find a close replacement.

It was not until I tried Chef Ben LeFleche chorizo flatbread at the Shades in Hilton Waterfront Beach resort that I found a close replacement. I asked him where the chorizo came from, he responded with “the best chorizo in Orange County comes from Ochoa’s.”

What I liked about Ochoa’s Chorizo

Ochoa's Chprizo Store - Exterior

Ochoa’s Chprizo Store – Exterior

Ochoa's Chprizo Store - Case

Ochoa’s Chprizo Store – Case

Ochoa’s Chorizo store started many years ago selling house made chorizo to the local community. I’m sure there were some back alley deals initially, although today they have expanded to two brick and mortar locations, Santa Ana and Anaheim. I have visited Ochoa’s three times and tried every flavor of Chorizo they have to offer. In my opinion, Ochoa’s has better chorizo than the uber street corner chorizo dealers in the Wilmington area.

Ochoa's Chorizo Store - Air Drying out Chorizo

Ochoa’s Chorizo Store – Air Drying out Chorizo

 What makes Ochoa’s chorizo so good?

First of all, their chorizo has a deep flavor. I called my family and told them that I found a chorizo close to our old favorite; I was met with cynicism. After I cooked it up, everyone loved the flavor. Although my mother said she prefers it a little sweeter, I disagree.

Ochoa's Chorizo in pan

 

Second, Ochoas chorizo does not create a puddle of oil when you cook it, a major key trait of superior chorizo. Their chorizo contains only 10% fat in the pork variety, which results in a better flavor and texture. 

Ochoa's Chorizo Cut out of casing

Ochoa’s Chorizo Cut out of casing

 

Third, the chorizo is all made by hand.  The meat is ground in house with a secret seasoning blend and then hand cranked into yard long natural casings. They then air dry the chorizo in shop and then refrigerate for sale.  There is not short cuts in the ingredients or process.

Ochoa's Chorizo cut open and cooking no excess oil

Ochoa’s Chorizo cut open and cooking no excess oil

 

Forth, this is a family business that started almost 30 years ago when they made it out of their house and sold it out of coolers to the local neighborhood. In Santa Ana, the Ochoas’s was everyone’s “chorizo guy.” Since their street dealing days, the Ochoa family has since have opened up two shops and expanded capacity. Old school family chorizo recipes and sausage making techniques are the best!

Flavors of Ochoa’s Chorizo

Here is a quick snapshot of the flavors they offer

Ochoa's Chorizo Flavors

Ochoa’s Chorizo Flavors – Image courtesy of Ochoa’s facebook page. Give them a like

Pork (mild)

 This chorizo has a nice bouquet of flavors, it is very mild such that my Abuela with stomach issues was still able to eat it. I have used this chorizo in so many dishes I loose track at this point, from burgers to Chiliquiles.

Ochoa's Chprizo  -  Mild Pork

Pork Spicy

This one is very spicy, I think it is made with habeneros. When I cooked this one in the house, everyone started coughing from the fumes. I recommend turning on the stove vent or cooking this one outside. The flavors have a sharp spike of heat up front, then eases into the complex flavor layers. The next bite you take the spiciness returns like a psycho ex-girlfriend that hurts, but you can’t stop having more.

ochoa's Chorizo -  Spicy Pork

ochoa’s Chorizo – Spicy Pork

Pork Verde (Medium)

 This chorizo is as greener than an Irvine homeowner association lawn. The comparison to Irvine ends there, the flavor is diverse and spicy. It is flavorful upfront and then you get hit with a sneaky attack at the back-end spice at the back of the bite. Since it is made with Jalapeno, the flavor and heat builds up in your mouth.

Ochoa's Green Chorizo Yard

Ochoa’s Green Chorizo Yard

Chicken (Medium)

I liked the flavor and texture of the chicken version, the spice level is between the mild and hot. Sometimes you don’t feel like pork, the chicken is lighter is texture and feel on the palate.

Ochoa's Chicken Chorizo

Ochoa’s Chicken Chorizo

Soy (Medium)

 Even vegetarians and vegan friends like chorizo. It is made without the casing, served loose. The flavor and texture is very similar to the pork, although you can still very much tell that you are dealing with soy. Veges and Vegans in your life will appreciate the sausage replacement.

Where is Ochoa’s ?

Ochoa's Chorizo Store from Street

Ochoa’s Chorizo Store from Street

Ochoa’s has two locations, Santa Ana (off warner) and Ochoa’s #2 in Anaheim. When you walk in the door the operation is legit. Set up like a butcher shop with a refrigerator case and freshly stuffed chorizo hanging up going through an air drying process. Service is friendly and she took her time to explain each of the chorizo options, folks speak English so don’t feel intimidated. These are honest working folks and their passion for their craft shows.  

Ochoa's Chprizo Store - Case

Ochoa’s Chprizo Store – Case

 

Ochoa’s Chorizo Store 

Address: 220 West Warner Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92707

Phone:(714) 850-0052

Ochoa’s 2

Address: 2827 East Lincoln Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

Phone:(714) 238-9050

Chorizo Prices

Ochoa’s chorizo costs $8 per Meter for any flavor. Uncased chorizo is $3.75/lb for meat and $3.50/lb for the Soy Chorizo. The house made beef jerkey is also amazing at $15/lb.Ochoa's Price List

My Final Thoughts

If you are looking for good chorizo, I recommend Ochoa’s. Some of the Orange County’s best restuarants use their chorizo and they have been sold in Orange County for the past 30 years. Ochoa’s chorizo has been a staple in Santa Ana for years and I agree they can be considered Orange County’s Best Chorizo.

Tom and Grandparents with Ochoa's Chorizo

Tom and Grandparents with Ochoa’s Chorizo

 See my other food posts

Orange County Wine Loop

Searsucker (San Diego)

Top Las Vegas Buffet – Bacchanal v.s. Wicked Spoon (Las Vegas)

ChocXO Chocolate Factory (Irvine)

Pub Thirty Two (Mission Viejo)

ChocXO (Irvine)

Solita Brunch (Huntington Beach)

Hopscotch Tavern (Fullerton)

La Vida Cantina (Costa Mesa)

Boathouse Collective (Costa Mesa)

Gabi’s in Old Town Orange (Orange)

Bru Market and Grill in Lake Forest (Lake Forest)

JP23 Smokehouse (Fullerton)

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

8 comments

  1. Great post, I enjoyed your anecdote setting the scene of a shady back alley chorizo deal! I have also fallen in love with Ochoa’s chorizo since being introduced last year.

  2. YES!!! It’s a bit of a trek (the Anaheim location is quite literally on the opposite side of town for me — oddly, it’s located in the spot where I used to rent videos from as a kid), but I plan on bringing a cooler lol. I love chorizo, but it really is hard to find the good stuff. I find myself buying it sometimes from Northgate, but I know there is better out there somewhere. I am definitely checking this out.

  3. Why is chorizo put in casings when I have never seen it eaten that way? It is always taken out of the casing when prepared.

    • Good Question, Diamond Dog.

      Part of the story is convenience and measurement. You can easily measure a length of chorizo for sale without a scale. This is often in important in crowded markets. Second, is simple storage. Folks used to hang up chorizo in cold storage before the days of refrigeration. Finally, although many recipes call on removing the casing, there are still very many recipes that require slicing the chorizo. Also you can grill chorizo with natural casing, much like you would a bratwurst.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*