An Assador de Barro is NOT a Portuguese Toast Rack

BBQ Chouriço Sausage on a Assador de Barro
BBQ Chouriço Sausage on a Assador de Barro

For many years I believed the clay dishes sold by the Artesanos in Portugal (Pottery shops) were toast racks. Yes, toast racks! I pondered over the design of these strange dishes, as you would, and decided Portuguese “toast racks” were extremely impractical as they would not hold many slices of toast.

Well what else could they be?

Several years later, my friend whose husband is Portuguese, laughed when I shared my thoughts. She then looked at me in sheer disbelief when she realized I was actually serious…

Like an adult to a child she kindly explained – they are a special clay dish to BBQ Chouriço Sausage.


All you need are some Chouriço Sausages (Portuguese) – (Chorizo Sausage is a Spanish sausage) – another lesson learned and some Aguardente – Portuguese grape brandy or Bagaço which is the homebrewed Aguardente.

How to use the Assador de Barro

Assador de Barro
Assador de Barro

* Pour some Aguardente or Bagaço into the bottom of the Assador de Barro
* Prick the Chouriço Sausage with a fork and place on dish.
* Set light to the Aguardente and cook chouriço sausage for a couple of minutes each side.

Apparently, Aguardente is used instead of Medronho because Medronho affects the taste of the sausage.
You can buy Chouriço Sausage from Supermarkets, local markets, butchers etc

Chouriço Sausage
Chouriço Sausage

To be honest, I won’t be rushing out to buy an Assador de Barro as I am not keen on the taste of the Chouriço Sausage which seems to be a common ingredient in several traditional Portuguese recipes.

Armed with the name of the clay dish I tried to research its history on the internet but nada – the most useful or unuseful information was the translation which was “Roaster from Clay” and “Meat grills of mud”.

I am curious to learn more about the history of the Assador de Barro – how they came to be invented, by whom and why.


42 thoughts on “An Assador de Barro is NOT a Portuguese Toast Rack

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  1. Hi Piglet…I’m Portuguese but I live in London,UK…just stopped by to say I find your blog very funny! Looking at Portugueses traditions and recipes from your point of view and then reading the comments has really made me chuckle…it also made me hungry…and homesick…loved it!

    Ps. As any good Portuguese household in Britain, we have an assador de barro, very useful at dinner parties…you can bbq the chourico sausage at the table, everybody likes that…”E uma casa Portuguesa concerteza!!”


  2. Fascinating and it does look like you described an what a discovery eh? I’ll skip the sausages and use the clay dish for appetizers or something… Lovely! 🙂


  3. How funny. It does indeed look like a toast rack for an oval bread loaf. Would love to try toasting marshmallows over chocolate liqueur. Thanks for sharing these unique things with us.


  4. Well, regarding the “Assador de barro” be careful because, just like Medronho, it might just be a pure Algravia tradition and not necessarily something they have in the rest of Portugal. Because the Arabs imported a lot of traditions ( like Cataplana and the name of my town Albufeira etc etc ) the meaning and origins of the “Assador de Barro” might be very difficult to find. Try asking the locals, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone that knows a little bit of Algarve’s history. 🙂


      1. The black sausage is amazing and try the white one too ( farihneira ) and the traditional sausage is best done with “linguiça de porco preto” translated as black pork.


  5. hi Piglet,

    chouriço, and not chorizo, is not a spanish sausage.
    It’s Portuguese we have since Portugal is Portugal…and in many different types:
    Linguiça, morcela, alheira, chouriço, paio, palaio, farinheira


    1. Hi Baião.
      Yes – sorry I did not make this clear in my post. I understand they are different recipes? I keep meaning to go to the Monchique sausage festival.
      I tried some black sausage once, it was delicious!

      Any news on the Bifes guest post 🙂 Don’t worry you can poke fun at us bifes!


  6. My daughter is going to spend some time in Portugal and Spain next month. What is your favorite food to eat or make so far? I love the pig picture 🙂


    1. Hi Patty and welcome!,
      Which part of Portugal and Spain is she going to? My favourites have to be chicken piri piri, catapalana, and Pork and clams. I also love the molotof dessert!

      Hope she ahs a great time!


  7. lol too funny. I would have never guessed that it was a cooking dish. I agree with you it does look like a toast holder. It’s most amusing to find out what it really is. 🙂


  8. I have one of those that we brought to Australia. I do miss the Portuguese (or Spanish) chourizo, as the one we buy here in Perth is raw and not smoked, so it always has to be cooked and it´s just not the same taste.
    Also not having Aguardente we have to use whiskey which is just not the same! Uhmmm I do miss Portuguese food…


  9. They eat a lot of chorizo here in Chile and I like them, but I’ve never seen a clay pan like the one you’ve shown. Usually the chorizo are just thrown onto the barbeque at an asado. Wouldn’t mind having one of those pans. I think it would be a great novelty at a party. Remember hibachis? My parents used to have a miniature one that they used only for parties.

    Love Nancy’s idea too!


    1. Hi TR- Yes, it would be a novelty especially if Chorizo is popular – you could try ordering one on the net. What are hibachis?

      Nancy’s idea would be more to my liking; she is always creative!



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