Shawarma 101: What You Need to Know to Make Shawarma

Chicken shawarma
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Shawarma is a little piece of heaven, right here on Earth. Shawarma is a lot like a gyro, kind of like a taco, but so different in many ways.

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma is thinly sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey, rolled into a large piece of flatbread or pita that has been steamed or heated. Inside the pita, foods like hummus, tahini, pickles, vegetables, and even french fries are added.

Think of shawarma as a taco or burrito Middle Eastern style.

How is Shawarma Made?

Raw meat is placed on large, rotating cones. As it rotates, the meat is cooked by a heat source that is located behind the actual cone. The meat slowly falls off or is thinly sliced by a chef with a large knife. It can take several hours to fully cook.

What is Served with Shawarma

I have had shawarma with fries, salads like tabouleh, falafel, and just by itself for a quick bite on the go. In some places, it is served alone, without the pita or flatbread.

Do I Need a Cone Tower to Make Shawarma at Home?

It's really hard to duplicate the taste without a tower. You can come very close, but there is still that "something" that is missing!

When buying your meat, try to get chicken. Dark meat (thigh meat) is the best for shawarma, but white meat will work, too. Ask your butcher or supermarket meat department to slice it very thin.

Ideally, the meat will be thinner than cutlets.

I have tried many shawarma recipes in my lifetime and over time have developed a really good shawarma recipe