Shashlik (Central Asian grilled skewered lamb)

4 to 6 servings


  • Lamb leg or shoulder, boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes — 2 pounds
  • Onion, thinly sliced– 1
  • Salt and pepper — to season
  • Lemons, juice only — 2
  • Oil — 3 tablespoons


  1. Toss the lamb, onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and oil together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marinate. Overnight is best.
  2. Thread the chunks of meat on skewers and set at room temperature while you get a hot fire going in a grill.
  3. Grill the meat skewers over the hot grill flame, turning frequently, until done to your liking.
  4. Serve the skewers with a vegetable salad, slices of rye bread and shots of vodka or a nice Georgian wine.

Shashlik Variations

  • Vegetable Skewers: Shashlik is often accompanied by grilled vegetable skewers. Popular veggies include cherry tomatoes, chunks of bell pepper, mushrooms and onion wedges. Toss the vegetables with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil and any remaining marinade. Skewer separately and grill until cooked through.
  • Shashlik is usually made with lamb, but you can try beef, pork or chicken if you like. There is even such a thing as sturgeon shashlik!
  • Instead of lemon juice, some cooks use vinegar or a dry white wine. Others eliminate the acidic element altogether.
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