Smoked Chicken Schwarma

A true schwarma is roasted slowly on a revolving spit and shaved for serving in sandwiches. Most chicken schwarma recipes, however, involve thin cuts of meat or skewered meat grilled quickly over direct heat.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a more authentic version on my grill (Big Green Egg XL). See pictures below from my prior attempts. Although there’s no way to do the “revolving” part without purchasing expensive rotisserie add-ons, a “spit” is possible to create, allowing “shaving” of meat once fully cooked.

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My first few attempts at creating a “spit” involved using a skewer (wood or metal) inserted into a half-onion.
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I marinated 3-4 lbs of chicken breasts (cut thin) and impaled them onto the skewers.
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This went on the grill and took about 3 hours to get to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit
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The chicken came out delicious but the setup wasn’t ideal. It fell over several times during the cooking process, sometime being knocked down by the dome and other times because the onion at the base shrank during cooking and became unstable.

A few commercial “spit” products are available: the Meat Stick – Vertical Pit from Ceramic Grill Store and the Trompo King. Rather than spend more money, my friend had a welder weld a 10 inch stainless steel rod onto a stainless steel plate, giving me a new toy to try out.

Below is my recipe for smoked chicken schwarma. Rather than marinade the  meat, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder just before impaling the chicken onto the spit.  Overall, the flavor of this chicken was acceptable but not the best. Based on this experience, I would say that the chicken should be marinated, preferably in something like yogurt which will change the meat’s texture. Stay tuned for future attempts.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 3-4 lb chicken breasts cut thin (butcher can cut it for you).
  • 1 tomato
  • half an onion
  • half a lemon

Ingredients for schwarma sauce (optional)

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • juice from half a lemon

Directions:

  1. Prepare grill for indirect cooking at 350-400 degrees Farenheit with your choice of wood chunks/chips
  2. first impale the half onion onto the skewer to create a base that the chicken will sitimg_20180331_161956300_hdr.jpg
  3. Rather than marinating the chicken, I tried just lightly seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic, letting the smoke (cherry and hickory wood) add flavor for me
  4. Impale chicken on the spitIMG_20180331_162438597.jpg
  5. Impale tomato on top.
  6. Once grill temperature is stable and producing blue smoke, place the spit on the grill. For my grill (Big Green Egg), I had to make sure to put the spit in the middle, otherwise, it gets knocked around when closing the dome.
  7. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken near the bottom of the spit is 165 degreesIMG_20180331_185045288.jpg
  8. Let cool for 15 minutes
  9. (optional) While waiting, mix all the ingredients for the schwarma sauce. Use salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.IMG_20180331_192026556.jpg
  10. Squeeze half a lemon on the chicken on the spit. This will help with the chicken on the outside that tends to get over-charredIMG_20180331_185920373.jpg
  11. Shave the chicken and eat as you wish. Can be used in salad, sandwhich, wrap, etc.IMG_20180331_185431254.jpg

 

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