Beef Shawarma


My love affair with middle eastern food began when my family spent 3 months in Israel when I was 13. Since then I’ve loved the complex flavors and spice blends that are inherent to the cuisine and rarely a day goes by that we don’t eat olives, hummus or dates. So, when we were pondering what to make for this post and the idea of Shawarmas came up I was all over it. Shawarma isn’t something you readily think of making at home since the meat is normally slow roasted and then sliced from the huge cone that you see in restaurants…not really doable in a condo kitchen! However, we think this low and slow oven recipe is a great substitute and the flavor, juiciness and texture of the meat is spot on. We paired our meat with homemade flatbread
and zesty Tzatziki for a wrap that will transport you to the middle east. Enjoy!

Shawarma-028 Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Schuchmann Mukuzani 2011 Red Dry Wine
Rating: 8.0 out of 10.0

This was a solid wine with the Shawarma! It’s made in Georgia (the country, not the state!) and was a nice complement to the savory richness of the meat. The prominent flavors are oak, ripe berry and plum and it’s quite dry. This is a wine to drink with food…it was much more satisfying with the meal than alone.

Shawarma-027 Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Anniversary 19 Session IPA, Victory Brewing Company
Rating: 8.75 out of 10.0

This IPA was excellent with our shawarma! It pours a nice golden yellow with a pale white head and has a nice light body just like a good session beer should. Aroma and taste are both light with scents of nice citrus with undertones of pine that finishes at the back of your throat with a nice dry bite. The citrus from the hops work really well with the tzatziki, tomatoes, and parsley while simultaneously helping to wash down the rich seasoning of the beef, onion, and pita bread. This is a really well balanced session beer that is even more well balanced with a middle eastern dish like our shawarma!


Beef Shawarma

Serves 2
Adapted from this recipe


Meat and Marinade

1 lb. of fatty beef cut (roast cut/steak cuts/butter steak…)
2-3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon caraway (ground fennel)
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon crushed peppercorn
⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger


½ cup of finely cut Italian parsley
1 tomato, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
Tzatziki (Recipe follows)
Flatbread (Recipe follows)


Shawarma Marinade

1. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a glass Pyrex baking dish.
2. Add the meat to the pan and rub with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3.Remove the marinated meat from the fridge, flip the pieces over and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 270-300 F for 2 hours.
4. Once cooked, cut the meat on a cutting board and serve hot. This roasting method will make the meat very tender and juicy…it should be almost falling apart.

Serving the Shawarma

1. Spread a generous line of Tzatziki down the center of the flatbread and then place about 4-6 ounces (to taste) of sliced shawarma over top.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, onion and a garnish of Italian parsley…enjoy!


Makes: 2½ cups
Adapted from this recipe


10 ounces cucumber (1 medium cucumber or ¾ large cucumber)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (do not substitute dried)
18 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


1. Peel the cucumber, cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Grate the cucumber using a box grater, then place the shreds in a couple pieces of paper towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Sprinkle with kosher salt, then let stand for 10 minutes to drain any remaining water.
2. Mince 1 clove garlic and chop 1 tablespoon fresh dill.
3. When the cucumber is ready, mix cucumber, garlic, dill, 18 ounces Greek yogurt, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours so the flavors can develop. Keeps up to 1 week in the refrigerator.


Adapted from this recipe


7-3/8 oz. (1-2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
1 tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup lukewarm (90°F to 100°F) water
2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and oil. Using your fingers, draw the flour in from the sides, working the mixture into a sticky dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the mixing bowl, drizzle with a little bit of oil, and turn to coat.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.
4. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (about 2 oz. each). Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a clean kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
5.On a floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one ball into a very thin 9-inch round, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
6. Heat an 11 to 12 inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly oil the skillet. Drop the dough round into the skillet, carefully using your fingertips to lay it flat, if necessary. Cook until light golden and puffed in spots, about 2 minutes. Using your fingers or a spatula, flip and cook until the second side is light golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. 7. Transfer to a plate. Repeat rolling and cooking process with the remaining dough, stacking the cooked flatbreads so they stay warm.



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