All About Middle Eastern 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.

So, 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 Middle Eastern-style taco or burrito.

How Shawarma Is 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.

Accompaniments for Shawarma

Shawarma often is served 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 pita or flatbread.

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

It's really hard to duplicate the taste of authentic shawarma 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 thinly.

Ideally, the meat will be thinner than cutlets.

Now that you know what shawarma is, try making it with this great shawarma recipe