Tucked away in a residential area of San Pedro, next to a bakery and walking distance from the LA Waterfront, is The Chori-Man — a small storefront with bold red and black details, where chorizo sausage is king. Many connoisseurs tout The Chori-Man as the finest handmade Mexican chorizo in Los Angeles, making it a must stop on the dineL.A. Taco Trek.
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Fourth generation chorizo maker Humberto Raygoza opened his brick and mortar shop in the summer of 2017. It’s a tiny space with a long kitchen, where his famous chorizo is prepared. There is a chair or two to sit while you’re waiting, but really no place to eat except for a couple of sidewalk picnic benches.
The Raygoza family chorizo history harks back to Humberto’s great-grandfather who emigrated from Spain to Mexico and taught his son, Humberto’s grandfather, how to make the specialty sausage. Carrying forth the tradition, Humberto’s father emigrated to the U.S. in the late 70s, made fresh chorizo at home, and pedaled the fresh sausages on Van Nuys Blvd, with little Humberto in tow.
Born and raised in the Antelope Valley, Humberto often visited his family’s hometown of Caleras, Zacatecas, Mexico where his aunts and uncles owned butcher shops. It was on a 2013 trip, after he decided not to pursue nursing at UCLA that Humberto returned to Los Angeles with dreams of taking his family’s chorizo recipe to the next level. He sold everything in his Culver City apartment in order to buy a grinder, a stuffer, and to begin with—50 pounds of meat.
Humberto peddled his chorizo tacos and burritos in a cart over a 10-mile stretch in his neighborhood. Within a year or so, restaurants including The Federal Bar, Salazar, and Sonoratown took note and requested large orders of chorizo.
Concurrently, Humberto started work as a line cook at Del Rey Deli where he’d bring in his chorizo. Owners Tim Edwards and Corrina Murdy were so taken by his authentic version that they offered him kitchen space to make chorizo with the promise he’d produce enough for the restaurant’s weekend brunch.
The rampant success of The Chori-Man chorizo is due to the quality of ingredients, no fillers, and a painstaking handmade process that Humberto refers to as “math science” whereby freshly ground pork shoulder (or chicken) is combined with made-from-scratch adobo seasoning (he de-seeds the chiles, grinds spices, and spices vinegar). The mixture is then hand-stuffed into natural hog casing and each sausage is individually tied and twisted. The final step is letting the links hang overnight to drain out extra water, salt, and vinegar.
The Chori-Man specializes in four chorizo varieties averaging $7.49 a pound: Zacatecano Red Chorizo mixed with guajillo dried red chiles and vinegar; Tolucan Green Chorizo made with poblano chiles which is the most unique and popular; Argentinian White Pork chorizo made with garlic, fennel, and wine; and a Maple Habanero Chorizo. A soy version is offered as well.
Order chorizo any which way in burritos (don’t miss the breakfast version), tacos, quesadillas (including a kimchee mash-up) and kid-size versions. Look for specials such as chicken wings, stewed brisket, and menudo (a traditional spicy soup with red chile and beef)—and soon, a smoked and dry-cured chorizo influenced from Spain. Wash it all down with house-made agua fresca.
NOTE: The Chori-Man is open to the public Thursday to Sunday only, so check the hours. Monday to Wednesday is set aside for preparing over three hundred pounds of chorizo a day for wholesale delivery to dozens of restaurants from Los Angeles to Orange County.
2309 S. Alma St, San Pedro 90731