Chouriço assado com aguardente / flame grilled red pepper sausage

One way of guaranteeing that your food is served hot in Portugal is to order chouriço (smoked sausage which is coloured and flavoured with red pepper) assado (spit-roasted) com aguardente (with spirit – as in alcohol, not ghosties).

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Portuguese sausages, which is a pity as there are so many of them. That’s got more to do with my squeamishness over icky bits of meat and gristle and dislike of the flavour of smoked food than anything to do with Portuguese meat products.

However, I can easily be persuaded to share a chouriço assado. Not only is it fun to watch the flames licking around the sausage, but it means that the fat gets cooked and the flavour improves. I recommend you try it at least once if you’re visiting Portugal, unless you’re vegetarian of course.

Chouriço assado com aguardente / flame grilled red pepper sausage
Chouriço assado com aguardente / flame grilled red pepper sausage

If you want to try this at home, you’ll need:

  • as much chouriço as is necessary (although it’s already sliced in this photo, most people cook it whole)
  • a dish to grill it in (if you haven’t got an authentic ceramic Portuguese dish, you can use any flame-proof dish and a rack)
  • aguardente (or cheap brandy if you can’t get Portuguese aguardente). I don’t know how much you need so it’s best to keep an eye on your sausage so it doesn’t burn but gets cooked through
  • a lighter or matches
  • a long-handled fork in case you need to rescue or turn your chouriço
  • a camera and admiring audience to make appropriate Ooooh! sounds

Find out which other Portuguese food you should try while you’re here.


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  1. I’ve just made a quick search on google because I had a thought about chouriço assado and wished I was eating it right now, but I’m not, and found this post with over two years now 🙂
    I like chouriço assado with corn bread 🙂 and then with scrambled eggs hmmm 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Rui, Happy to hear I’ve helped to either satisfy or perhaps intensify your hunger. I’m also a fan of corn bread and you’re right, it goes perfectly with chouriço.

  2. May I recommend a wonderful little place to enjoy grilled chourico? In Bairro Alto there is a little fado club, very small and very non-touristy. Enjoy some sangria and grilled chourico and listen to some fado at A Tasca do Chico. Amateurs, semi-pros and the occasional professional will sing for you and the locals will sing along and sometimes cry. A wonderful experience.

  3. Aguardente is made from over distilled young wine in case people were wondering just what it is,there are many many types of sausage here in Portugal! Im sure if you tried outside of the norm you would find some you like!
    Your comment of lack of vegetarianism is also quite funny I can think of 5 types of veggie sausage just from the top of my head, all are easily available. Portugal has very widespread vegetarian cuisine. Looking to many traditional recipes,particularly ones from the Jewish families that lived here to escape the inquisition. spit roasted chicken is more common here, spit roasted chouriço is a thing on the boarder of Spain and the Algarve.. it isn’t something you would typically find in Alentejo or Lisbon for example. I do like your blog and i find your joy of my country wonderful, sometimes i wish i would find the true Portugal in all posts, but I perhaps set my expectations too high.

    1. Author

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment, Renato. It’s much appreciated and I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I do my best to make sure it’s as accurate as possible.

      On the subject of chouriço, I’ve had it in Óbidos, Coimbra and Alte so it’s perhaps more widely available than you realise.

      I’m not saying that there are no tasty Portuguese sausages, I’m just not a huge fan of sausages in general. However, I have never heard of or seen vegetarian sausages in Portugal, so if you can tell me what they’re called, I’ll look out for them.

      I stand by my comment about lack of options for vegetarians. Outside the big cities and major tourist areas, pretty much the only option for non-meat eaters is omelette or salad, I’m afraid. My vegetarian friends will confirm this 🙂

      1. I am portuguese and i have many vegetarian friends both portuguese and non portuguese and both would disagree with you on the lack of veggie options, most places if you ask will serve you something, and i have never had trouble eating out anywhere in the country including the islands with my vegetarian friends.
        The places you mentioned are extremely touristic particularly obidos and Coimbra, Coimbra particularly is a university town so it carrys a lot of food from all over the country. It goes for any university town, I can assure you it isnt overly traditional in the broad spectrum, Chicken roasted with aguardente is, which I would be more inclined to advise people to eat because chicken here is quite spectacular. The tourist places sure will have these things, I was just trying to point out it isn’t the most traditional serving method.
        I have travelled this country far and wide, been to most every place in the country and eaten out at each place, I stand by my comment regarding asking off menu if you are veggie and you would be happily accommodated most people would not want to lose the customer. Of course,if you don’t speak portuguese that would be difficult, but learning small phrases and trying your best to pronounce them i have found gets you far( I have experienced this first hand as my wife is english and lives here in Salgados with me and travels the country with me also!)

        This site may help your veggie friends out a little

        As for the veggie sausages let me get back to you with retailers and exact names, though I am certain they are deliverable from online if you aren’t near a big city.

        1. Author

          Hi Renato, Thanks for the link and your response. There’s no need to go to a lot of trouble to research the vegetarian sausages – I go to some expense and effort to produce this blog but I’m not about to order vegetarian sausages online for it, I’m afraid 😉

          I don’t dispute that you have a wider, deeper knowledge of your country than I do but we’ve obviously been eating in different restaurants (and trust me, I try to avoid the touristy ones) as I’ve never seen chicken with aguardente on the menu. Maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough 🙂

          I think that foreigners in Portugal probably don’t realise that they can ask for something off-menu that’s more appetising than a plain salad or omelette because in the UK at least, there are usually vegetarian options on the menu in any restaurant or café. Or they simply don’t have the level of Portuguese required for this, in which case some phrases beyond “sem carne” would be helpful.

          In any case, your comments have inspired me to investigate the matter further with a view to producing a blog post to help people get a better selection of vegetarian food in Portugal so thank you!

  4. It looks very hot, but delicious. Great Hot Challenge 🙂 Thank you for sharing 😉

    1. Author

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. I’d have thought they’d have introduced a vegetarian version by now. Actually, on second thoughts, if they are anything like Spain, vegetarianism isn’t high on their list!

    I guess this must be similar to our spicy Chorizo sausages …. yummy! 🙂

    1. Author

      Yep, they’re very similar to the Spanish version and no, vegetarianism isn’t widespread here, either 🙂

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