Recipe Author: Russ Crandall | The Domestic Man from The Heritage Cookbook
Shawarma is thought to originate in the Middle East, specifically Turkey and describes the process for preparing meat. Traditionally, meat was skewered and turned on a spit over an open fire. It’s one of the oldest known methods for cooking. The rotisserie has become the modern day equivalent. Slow cooking meat while rotating over heat allows it to cook evenly.
Shawarma can be used with lamb, chicken, beef, pork or more exotic meats. The boneless meat is sliced or diced into kabobs and skewered.
When the method made it’s way to Greece it transformed into gyros. Shawarma, gyros, and kabobs have become a common street food in many parts of the world. For home chefs, it’s a wonderful way to prepare a variety of flavors together by alternating meats. We think there should definitely be more meats on sticks.
Serves 6 | Prep time: overnight | Cook time: 30 minutes
- 3 lbs boneless chicken thighs, lamb shoulder, well-marbled beef steak, or combination
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- juice of 1 lemon (2 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- skewers for grilling (metal preferred; if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 1 hour)
- 1 batch pita flatbreads or lettuce wraps
- 1/2 cup hummus
- 1/4 cup tahini paste
- 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- sumac to sprinkle
- Slice the meat in 1” thick lengths, then place in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cardamom, oregano, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger; sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat. Toss the meat with the spices, lemon juice, and olive oil, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag and marinate overnight.
- Metal skewers are preferred; if using wooden skewers, soak them in cool water for at least 2 hours. Prepare your grill for indirect grilling by banking the hot coals to one side for a charcoal grill, or turning on the burners on one side for a gas grill. Skewer the meat then place on the cool side of the grill and roast until just cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning the skewers after 10 minutes. Move the skewers to the hot side of the grill and grill until crispy on the outside, about 5 minutes, rotating the skewers every minute. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve on flatbreads spread with hummus and tahini, garnished with the other accompaniments. To more closely replicate the Shawarma meat that is shaved from a vertical spit, thinly slice the meat once it has rested.
Meet The Chef
A big US Wellness thank you goes out to Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man. At his blog, you’ll find gluten-free and Paleo-friendly recipes. His recipes focus on classic, traditional, and international dishes from a historical, linguistic, and cultural perspective.
Check out his cookbooks! Russ released his debut cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Paleo Recipes for a Traditional Lifestyle, in February 2014, and his second cookbook, The New York Times-bestselling Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk, in June 2015. His most recent cookbook was released May 1, 2019, The Heritage Cookbook.