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Our chourico assado recipe gives you everything you need to truly savor the rich flavor of this popular Portuguese sausage the way Portuguese have been cooking it for generations.
Grilled Chorizo (Chourico Assado) Recipe
Chourico assado really is more than a traditional dish. I vividly remember watching the flames lick the edges of the cured meat in a dimly lit fado house in Lisbon as we dined in between performances.
Ordering and eating chourico assado goes far beyond taste. The loud sizzle of the sausage, the hypnotic dance of the flames, and the warmth against your skin as you wait patiently for the meat to cook all play their part in making both preparing and eating this dish a one-of-a-kind experience.
What is Chourico Assado?
Different from Spanish chorizo, Portuguese and Brazilian chourico is a cured sausage meat, often consisting of pork, plenty of fat, and additions including garlic, paprika, pepper, piri piri, and wine, among others, that can be found in delicatessens, butchers, and supermarkets in a wide range of varieties and sizes.
Often hotter, spicier, and a little fattier than Spanish chorizo, this cured meat is used in a wide range of Portuguese and Brazilian dishes. However, arguably the most common way to enjoy it is known as chouriço assado (or sometimes chouriço à bombeiro).
Simply, this process involves partially scoring the meat along the top, dowsing it in alcohol, and cooking it over an open flame in an assador de barro, a special type of earthenware sausage grill, sometimes at the table in front of diners, depending on the restaurant.
While making this dish at home is no doubt a spectacle, it is very important to respect the fact you are igniting alcohol and cooking over a live flame. Hence, we strongly urge you to consider the following safety advice:
Assador de Barro – Make sure you have the correct dish (pictured below), which has been purpose-designed, and don’t try to fashion together a similar-style cooking dish with equipment you have at home.
Alcohol – Pour the alcohol slowly over the sausage, and make sure all alcohol collects in the assador. Make sure the alcohol isn’t flowing over the sides and that all alcohol is on the meat and inside the dish before you light it. Don’t add alcohol to the ignited flame, and definitely never pour it straight from the bottle on the flame (as it can ignite the bottle).
Outside – While in Portugal, it is very common for restaurants to light and serve chourico assado inside, if possible, conduct the lighting and cooking of the meat outside.
Fire Blanket/Fire Extinguisher – Have one or both on hand when making this dish so that you can extinguish any flames.
Never Leave Unattended – Once ignited, the flames will eventually extinguish once all the alcohol has burned up. However, never leave the assador unattended, and always keep your eye on the dish.
Surface – Always place the assador on a hard, non-flammable surface, and clear all loose items and equipment out of the way. Never leave flammable items around the assador, such as tea towels or kitchen towel.
Metal Tongs – Use metal tongs to turn the meat while cooking, and never try to use your hands, toothpicks, or equipment that would put your hands close to the flames.
What is Aguardente?
Portuguese arguardente generally refers to liquor with an alcohol content of 29-60%. For the aguardente, we used Aguardente Bagaceira (40%). For the alcohol to light up/flambe, it needs to have an alcohol content of at least 40%. But, don’t go too high. Keep it under 60% for safety purposes. If you don’t have a Portuguese aguardente, you can use other clear alcohol like grappa or gin or vodka (it won’t be as traditional).
To make our chourico assado recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Chourico – 1 Portuguese Chourico (250 grams)
- Portuguese Aguardente – (40%+ alcohol) – 1/2 cup (120 ml)
- Assador de Barro (Portuguese Sausage Grill, pictured below)
Step 1 – Score the chourico (with the cuts being 1/2 inch apart and 3/4th of the way, not all the way through).
Step 2 – Put the chourico on the assador de barro and pour 1/2 cup of aguardente.
Step 3 – Using a long lighter, light up the alcohol.
Step 4 – Grill the chourico for a few minutes, until it’s nicely charred. Using metal tongs to turn the chourico and char it on all sides.
Step 5 – Once the chourico is done, remove it and let the alcohol finish burning out. Don’t leave the flame unattended!
Once prepared, get ready to enjoy meat with a rustic char that is juicy, meaty, and laced with plenty of spice.
While absolutely delicious, grilled chourico on its own is very rich and dense, so it’s a good idea to serve the meat with some other sides and pairings. Consider the following:
Bread – Easy to prepare, some fresh, crusty bread is a filling pairing with the chourico, and can absorb some of the juices.
Sliced – Traditionally, you are left to your own devices when ordering chourico assado in a Portuguese restaurant. However, for safety purposes and to make life easier for your guests, you may want to slice the sausage yourself, straight off the flame, before serving it.
Cheese – Especially if you’re entertaining a large group, a cheese board is an ideal pairing for the grilled meat. You could even consider some native Portuguese cheeses if you want to keep things traditional.
Roasted Vegetables – The likes of sliced onion and bell pepper make for a great side for the meat, adding a little sweetness to the spice of the meat.
Fresh Greens/Green Salad – If you want to offset the richness of the meat, consider serving a bowl of fresh greens, which your guests can eat with the bread.
Caldo Verde – Want to keep things traditional? Chopped chourico is often added to green soup caldo verde right at the end, so this could be a great option for you.
Cold Drinks – Ice cold beer and refreshing lemonade or soda is the ideal tonic for the searing heat and spice of the meat.
Grilled Chorizo (Chourico Assado) Recipe Card
- 1 Portuguese Chourico (~ 8.8 oz or 250 grams)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) Portuguese Aguardente (40%+ alcohol)
- Assador de Barro (Portuguese Sausage Grill)
- Score the chourico (1/2 inch apart and only 3/4th of the way, not all the way through).
- Put the chourico on the assador de barro and pour 1/2 cup of aguardente over it (carefully, not to spill outside the assador).
- Using a long lighter, light up the alcohol in the assador.
- Grill the chourico for a few minutes until it’s nicely charred. Using metal tongs to turn the chourico and char it on all sides.
- Once the chourico is done, remove it and let the alcohol finish burning out. Don’t leave the flame unattended!
- Slice it all the way through and enjoy it (use our serving suggestions in the article above).
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Save and Pin for Later
Planning a Portuguese-themed evening, or intrigued to make this beloved dish at home? Keep our recipe for safekeeping by saving it to one of your international foods Pinterest boards.