Caucasian Shashlyk originates from the Caucasus. This wonderful dish has become a must of every picnic and an outside party.

Shashlik comes from the Caucasian Mountain tribesmen and became popular after the conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century. This was when the region started becoming romanticized by the likes of Pushkin, Lermontov and Byron. Russian and European travelers then began to flock to the area and almost every memoir notes the delicacy of the shashlyk. Its importance in daily Russian cuisine is highlighted in Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita when an order is made for One Karsky Shashlyk!
Nowadays nearly every family has its own secret recipe for shashlyk that is guarded closely. The key inevitably lies in the marinade. During Soviet times this was largely made up of vinegar to soften the meat – any good quality produce was hard to find back then. But be warned, using vinegar now will get you mocked!


Instead there are a number of subtle variations; however, what’s important is that the marinade (see below) enhances the meat’s flavor.

  • 3 kg lamb (chuck).
  • 500 g onion.
  • Bay leaf.
  • Pepper peas.
  • Salt.
  • Greens.
  • White table wine.


  • A real shashlyk must not be marinated in acid liquids.
  • Cut meat into large cubes 5x3x2 cm
  • Peel onion and dice it finely.
  • Put in a large pan a layer of meat, cover with onion, and add 2 bay leaves, 5 pepper peas, sprinkle salt.
  • Repeat these layers until meat is out.
  • Top with onion.
  • Pour over a cup of cold water.
  • Cover and put a weight on the top for 4-5 hours.
  • Thread lamb onto flat metal skewers tightly.
  • Put skewers over well-heated brazier with charcoals (the distance between meat and coals is about 12-13 cm).
  • The skewers must lie very tightly, forming a “meat roof”. Turn skewers only once.
  • Sprinkle marinate over meat regularly.
  • Serve with a lot of greens and white table wine.