Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Shawarmas were one of the few, good fast foods we could find in the countries we lived in and traveled to while overseas.  In West Africa they were usually Lebanese, in England and Ireland they were Turkish or Greek.   The bread was whole pitas with meat and vegetable fillings, topped with tzatziki sauce, rolled and secured with a paper wrapping to hold it all together.  To make it easier for our guests to fill and eat the shawarmas, I cut the pita breads in half, creating pouches to stuff (like gyros)  to reduce messy spills.  I didn’t have shawarma paper wraps.

This is the first time we’ve eaten chicken shawarmas.  The meat was usually lamb/sheep slices flattened, pounded, marinated and placed on a rotating skewer in a large electric shawarma machine.

In restaurants this involves quite a few pounds of meat, sliced and served from the outside in, as the meat is browned and cooked.  They usually have razor sharp knives and it’s lovely to watch.

I considered buying a small shawarma machine for home use but when I was looking on Amazon, I noticed a simple skewer, not very long, screwed into a metal platform that could be used in the oven or on the grill.  Challenged, I bought one!  I sandwiched the chicken slices between fresh pineapple pieces for stability and a cool look 🙂

Unfortunately, none of my knives were razor sharp but he who will not be named did a fantastic job slicing the shawarma with inferior tools.  Thank you, “He”.

This tzatziki sauce is probably the best I’ve ever made.  Why?  I don’t know, but I will always make it like this from now on.

For an outdoor, socially distanced affair involving a grill, I knew I would have to have a potato or macaroni salad, I didn’t care which but my husband voiced his choice.  Probably tired of 44 years of mostly potato salad 😀

I baked 3 small gingerbread loaves to accompany the homemade peach ice cream, slicing one directly from the oven so my husband could eat it hot.

Grilled Chicken Shawarma

12 chicken thighs, skinned, boned, flattened and pounded thin


2 cups thick Greek yogurt

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp piment d’espelette

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp black pepper


1 fresh pineapple top, about 2-3 inches

1 fresh pineapple bottom, about 3 inches


Pita bread, cut into halves to create pouches and warmed on the grill in aluminum foil

Platter of lettuce, sliced tomato and sliced cucumber



1 large winter cucumber, grated

2 cups thick Greek yogurt

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Screw the skewer into the metal platform and place on a shallow baking pan to catch the juices.  Skewer the pineapple bottom onto the platform, then add the  marinated chicken slices, one at a time, giving each a quarter turn from the last one.  Skewer on the pineapple top and place in a pre-heated 400 F grill for 1 hour and a half off flame.

Mix tzatziki ingredients together and refrigerate.

Thinly slice the chicken from the skewer into a warmed pan.  Stuff some of the chicken into the pita pouches, add lettuce, tomato and sliced cucumber and top with the tzatziki.


About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in African, African, Cooking, Food and Wine, Greek, Lebanese, Recipes, Sandwich, turkish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Grilled Chicken Shawarma

  1. JB says:

    This looks fantastic. I make pork “al pastor” in a similar way in the oven, using a top-down skewer to anchor the meat to the pineapple base.

  2. Love your skewer adaptation!

  3. Pingback: Grilled Chicken Shawarma — Cooking in Sens | THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON...

  4. Everything looks so delicious. Hugs.

  5. Laura McPherson says:

    Looks lovely … may try it in the next month !

  6. Stella says:

    Some ingenious adaptation there, but for your own safety either get your knives professionally sharpened or get some new sharp ones. Blunt knives are dangerous and I’d hate to think of you getting injured.

    • Well Stella, where we live there are no reliable knife sharpeners. We do our best with what we’ve got 😀

      • Stella says:

        That’s really bad news. The local kitchen shop around here can get knives sharpened in the space of a week for £1 each knife and only charged an extra sum (a further £1) when I asked them to sharpen the terrifying knife that used to belong to Lynne’s grandfather when he was a chef on P&O’s liners. It’s now so sharp I’m scared to use it.

  7. What a great dish for a get together. Fun and delicious!

  8. Mad Dog says:

    What great inventiveness! That looks delicious.
    The most common in the UK are made with breast of lamb and recently I’ve noticed them slicing with electric carving knives – an old school toy which deserves to come back into fashion.

  9. looks delicious!! very mouthwatering!! i hope you like my blog too but i have to tell you your blog is just fantastic looking and unique!! i am really glad i found it….

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