Make Better Potato Salad With Salty Meat

Make Better Potato Salad With Salty Meat

My favourite food at any yard party or barbecue is, hands-down, the potato salad. The burgers, grilled chicken, and even corn get more shine than this praise-worthy bowl of mayo-slathered starch, and that’s just fine with me. While there’s a line of losers waiting for cheeseburgers, I’ve got 12 pounds of potatoes all to myself. It’s normally a side dish, but I think it’s time to change that. Boost potato salad to main dish status by adding nuggets of salty meat.

Obviously, when everyone thinks of potato salad, they immediately think of “balance.” (No? Just me?) The potatoes are the canvas, and creamy mayo, slightly bitter celery, acidic mustard, a generous amount of salt, and maybe a swirl of sweet pickle relish are the paint. See? Balanced. That’s why potato salad rocks. The only missing element is a juicy bit of umami, and that’s where salty meats swoop in.

Most packaged, cured, or smoked meats will work. You’re looking for a meat that packs rich flavour. I used Spanish-style chorizo, but any sausage, bacon, pancetta, or hot dogs will do the trick. Ensure the meat is fully cooked first. Most packaging will indicate if a product is fully cooked or requires cooking. Fry or bake bacon to your preferred consistency. I would aim for completely crispy, but if you enjoy a thicker cut with a little chew, go right ahead. If you’re using pre-cooked meat, technically, you could start chopping, but I recommend searing it briefly first. My chorizo was a fully-cooked product, but I seared two sides of it for a little added depth of flavour.

Let the meat cool for about 10 minutes so it’s easier to handle. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces, or about the same size as the potato chunks in your salad. Add this to the rest of the potato salad ingredients as it’s being assembled.

Besides the phenomenal added flavour, there’s a little excitement that comes with discovering juicy pieces of meat in a dish that normally doesn’t contain them. The first time I saw sausage crumbles in Thanksgiving stuffing, I nearly lost my mind. This salad provokes very much the same reaction. Adding flavorful meat is also a little trick for cutting down the mayo measurement. (Here are others.) The meat will add salt, fat, and flavour, which means you don’t have to rely on mayo quite as much. I suggest adding two tablespoons less mayo than usual, tossing in the salty meat, and tasting the salad. Assess, and adjust from there.

Salty meat potato salad is a side dish to none. The potatoes are still the star, but now they’re supported by their long-time partner, meat. This recipe uses two links of chorizo, but you could increase or decrease the amount depending on if you want sausage in every bite or as a little surprise now and again.

Chorizo Potato Salad

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ¼ pounds potatoes, boiled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 ribs of celery, roughly diced
  • 2 chorizo links, briefly seared
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sweet pickle relish (optional)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced


  1. Cut the chorizo links in half, lengthwise. Cut them again crosswise into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Sear if desired and let cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, add the potatoes, celery, chorizo, and parsley. Sprinkle on the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add the mayonnaise, dijon, and pickle relish. Add half of the sliced eggs.
  4. Toss and taste. Add more mayo if it’s needed. Top with the rest of the egg slices. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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