I love going out for Shawarma or Pita or Donairs or Gyros, there is something about vertically cooked meat being shaved and put into a pita bread for the most delicious middle eastern sandwich. There are lots of recipes for Shawarma using skewers or a rotisserie, but with the right tools, you can cook this incredible meal the way they did it in the old world, stacked up high and topped with a whole onion. The marinated chicken in this recipe might be the real secret, I let mine marinade overnight in an amazing blend of spices, so when I stacked it high, there was flavor deeply embedded on every level.
Combine all the Marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Next you want to grab the chicken and place it in a sealable marinating bag or marinating bucket. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage it into the meat for 5 minutes. You want to ensure that the marinade completely covers all the meat, getting into every crevasse. Place the marinating chicken back into the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
Make the Shawarma Chicken Stack
Place half of a peeled onion on the bottom of the Stack, this will lift the meat off the bottom so that it doesn’t burn while cooking and elevate the chicken from cooking in its own juices. Next start feeding the chicken onto the skewer, making sure that each piece is laid out flat. Go around in a circle, threading each piece onto the stack so that it does not align with the piece underneath, this will keep your stack nice and even, for even cooking throughout the process. Once you get to the top, place the 2nd half of the onion on top of the spike, this will help to hold the meat down and prevent burning on the top.
Smoke the Chicken Shawarma
Preheat your smoker to 350 degreesI hope you measured the height of your smoker to make sure that the cooker will hold your amazing tower of meat. I am using a camp chef XT 24, so I had to use the smaller of the 2 spikes that the Trompo King came with, because the large spike would be too tall for my little smoker. Place the Spike onto the smoker at 350 degrees.
Baste the Meat
About an hour into the cook, you are going to want to baste the meat with the final ¼ cup of olive oil. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. This should help cool the surface of the meat a little to prevent it getting too dark. If you find that the meat is getting dark at this point without reaching 165 degrees in the middle, you have 2 choices. You can either trim off some of the dark outside meat and then put it back onto the smoker, or you can add a tent of foil over the meat to insulate it while the inside comes up those last few degrees.
How to Tell when the Shawarma is done
Using an internal thermometer, you want to test for the internal temperature. Make sure that the shawarma tests at 165 degrees all over to ensure it is cooked properly. Once you reach your desired internal temperature, remove the shawarma from the smoker and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Wen I cooked my Shawarma, I had a ton of drippings on the bottom of the pan that were a little bit burned (probably because it was -29 degrees outside when I did it!), so before carving the meat into the pan at the bottom, I used a metal spatula to remove some of the burned bits, so that they wouldn’t affect the flavor of the meat.
Carve the Meat
To carve a shawarma, use a sharp slicing knife, I recommend the Yonedas Raion slicer. Take off about ½ inch of meat with each slice and go around the Shawarma in a circle, once the bottom pan is full of meat, stop and serve, then you can carve fresh meat as needed throughout the meal. The whole experience is incredible, and the awesome looking meat tower looks incredible on your serving table.
Mix the Tzatsiki Sauce
Tzatziki is by far the best sauce to be served with Shawarma, so mix up all of the ingredients for the Tzatziki sauce and stir. Serve this amazing creamy sauce as a side or right on top of the Shawarma during service.
Step By Step
Mix up all the marinating spices
Add the chicken and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator
Place an onion on your cooking spike and then thread on all of the marinated chicken
Top the spike with another onion and then place on the smoker at 350 degrees F
Cook for 1 hour and then baste the meat with olive oil
Choose your own adventure, either tent the meat with foil for the final 30 minutes or slice off the outside meat and continue to cook until you reach 165 degrees internal.
Once your internal temp is reached, let the Shawarma rest for 5 minutes and then slice and serve
Where can I get a Shawarma Spike?
When we did this recipe, we used a Trompo King, keep your eyes on our store as we are hoping to bring them in this summer. You can also use skewers or a rotisserie to create this meal. Other terms that will find you what you are looking for are Gaucho Skewers, Oraneyun Brazilian Vertical Skewers, Brazilian BBQ vertical Skewers, Fireloop Stainless removeable Skewers, Kebab Spike Stands and many other terms. Many of these are just a skewer that would need to be placed in a pan, the reason we liked the Tromp King was that the pan is attached, and it comes with a variety of spike sizes for use in almost any smoker.
Where can I buy Yonedas Seasonings and knives?
If you check out www.yonedas.com they are expanding their sales across Canada and hopefully to break into the USA soon. You can also buy it on our website, where we ship seasoning orders over $150 for free Canada wide.
What if I am Gluten Free?
This recipe is entirely gluten free, when serving this recipe, I like to serve it on a bed of rice or if you are opting for a pita, then there are lots of great gluten free pita recipes out there as well.
Does Shawarma have to be made with Chicken?
Absolutely not, this recipe is famous all over the world and is made with tonnes of regional delicious meats like Mutton, Lamb, Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Veal and more. One of the most popular street foods in the world
What are the best toppings for Shawarma?
I like to serve my Shawarma with a side of Tzatziki sauce but also an array of pickled vegetables. Pickled olives, banana peppers, cucumbers and carrots and shaved lettuce are usually my go to’s for this dish, but I’ve also seen people use pickled onions which are also delicious, just not a staple of my fridge. Many people will also serve their Shawarma with Hummus, Tahini or Amba Mango sauce.