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Russian Shashlik barbecue

Shashlik

Shashlik barbecue recipe

Russian food BBQ shashlik grill recipe

Shashlik (shashlyk, Rus. шашлык)  barbecue is not only a meal and a cooking style but also a cultural concept. What can be better than grabbing good cuts of meat, marinating them in accordance with your secret recipe, and cooking it outdoors over char coal with a large company of friends or relatives. Social gatherings accompanied by smoky juicy shashlik are popular throughout the year- both in warm summer days and with white snow at the background. People would often go to the nature which gets more or less wild as soon as you leave a city behind, or to their country houses called datcha (private village house with a some land).

Shashlik can be cooked with any meat, but it should be marinated in advance. There are literally millions of the marinade recipes, and the main ingredient is usually some kind of a softener -it can be vinegar, or kefir (plain yogurt) or onion rings, some would say fizzy mineral water is great. Most popular element in marinating the meat is finely sliced onions – releasing the juicе it softens the meat and enriches its flavour.  The meat marinated in advance is brought to the meeting point in a pot and then the magic of the cooking happens.

Chunks of meat are placed tightly to each other onto long metallic skewers  and grilled over charcoal in mangal-the BBQ basin. Prior to that the coals must have been burning for about 10-15 minutes and got white and grey ashy coating. Then you keep a watchful eye over shampur (skewer) turning it around, and looking out that the coals don’t start catching fire in which case you would drizzle some water over them. Cooking shashlik is fun and it is certainly an art- an art well worth mastering.

Fresh air helps build up an appetite and so does the delicious smoke, so the expectations are high on the cook. If it the meat comes out great than its a  success with a capital S. Plenty of fresh vegetables and ice cold beverages will crown the meal.

Russian food shashlik chicken BBQ grill
What meat can be used: everything – chicken, pork, beef or lamb. Go for the fattier cuts. If the cuts are too lean they can dry when being grilled and to prevent this you might need to oil them for time to time.

We are going to upload a few recipes of shashlik marinade, starting with beef. You’re welcome to add your questions and suggestions or tips in comments!

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Beef shashlik – Marinade 1.

Rib eye cuts of beef: 500 gr (because it is tender and juicy, and fat is great for grilling)

Marinade  (for 500 gr/18 ounces of meat):

  • 3 onions
  • Coarse Salt- 1 pinch
  • Black pepper – 1 pinch
  • Coriander – 2 pinches

 

Optional:

  • Provence herbs – a small amount for aroma
  • Some flakes of crushed dry chili peppers

(we are not going for the spiciness but for the flavour)

 

Preparation:

  • Finely slice the onion, bring to a pot and squeeze with your hands to release extra juice (you may want to use swimming goggles for tear free chopping :) )
  • Wash the meat, cut into chunks, dry up with a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle all the herbs/spices/salt over the cuts of meat and put the meat into the pot with onion rings. Mix well and leave to marinade for about 2 hours or more.
  • Prior to grilling, make sure the meat has the room temperature, so if you had the pot in the fridge take it out in advance.
  • Prepare the coal. Once it’s coated with ashes skewer the meat onto the skewers (shampurs) discarding onions and grill, rotating the skewers and watching that the coats don’t catch fire.
  • You can also sprinkle some herbs over the coals – rosemary etc. – for extra flavour of the smoke.
  • Don’t overgrill the meat – slightly press the meat, if it’s not too soft it should be ready.
  • Serve over a lot of salad and enjoy!

 

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