Juicy, flavorful and incredibly delicious Georgian Shashlik or Mtsvadi. Classic recipe that my family has been making for years. Easy and requires just 4 ingredients.
Georgian Pork Shashlik Recipe
When I was growing up - not a single spring, summer or fall get-together went by without making Shashlik. It's a hearty dish consisting of skewered and grilled chunks of meat. It originated in Caucasus and Central Asia and starting from 19th century also became popular in Russian Empire.
Each country has it's own name for this dish. In Ukraine and Russian we call it Shashlik and in Georgia it's Mtsvadi. (Now try to repeat this faster 10 more times:))
Despite that originally lamb was the main ingredient for Mtsvadi, nowadays people make it with Pork, Beef or even Chicken.
Back in the 90th in Ukraine, lamb meat was quite difficult to find. So the most often used type of meat for Shashlik was pork.
Whenever we had picnics, birthdays or went mushroom picking, Shashlik was always a pleasant accompaniment to the event.
What is the best Georgian Pork Skewers recipe?
Just like Ukrainian Borscht, that has so many variations, there are lots of recipes for Shashlik or Mtsvadi as well.
I think that it's safe to say that I tried most of these recipes. Shashlyk with Mayo, with Vinegar, with Onions, with Tomato Sauce, you name it.
All of them are delicious, but my favorite and most often used way of making Georgian Pork Skewers is to marinate pork in onion. Simple but such a delicious a recipe.
My family has been making Shashlik this way for years and the recipe never disappoints.
Before we get started, a little disclaimer here. When I was researching about Shashlik more deeply, I've read from various sources that Georgian people don't usually marinate the meat, but rather grill it right away.
But as long as I can remember, we always took the time to marinate the meat for at least 2 hours. I feel like this helps for the onion to infuse pork with a flavor making it even more juicy and delicious.
How to make Saslik
Choose the right type of meat.
From the personal experience, the best meat for Shashlik has to have some fat on it. Pork shoulder or picnic ham are both a great choice.
Start off with washing and drying the meat with a paper towel. (I always use this with store-bought meat and fish).
Cut the meat into 1 ½ inch pieces and put them in a large bowl.
Slice or grate the onion.
The ideal meat to onion ratio is 2:1.
Alternatively, you can thinly slice the onion. But I believe that grating the onion releases more juice making it easier to penetrate into the meat.
After you grated or sliced the onion, go ahead and add it to a bowl with meat.
Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. If you want, you can add different herbs, but I found salt, pepper and onion to be the only things this recipe needs. This especially makes sense since we're gonna serve Mtsvadi with an amazing green sauce. Recipe follows.
Now, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Arrange Shashlik on the skewers
If you use metal skewers, like the ones always used for grilling in Eastern Europe, carefully thread the meat, sliced zucchini and tomatoes onto them.
If you use bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for a minimum of 30 minutes before grilling. This will keep them from burning up on the grill.
- If you have a steel or stainless steel grill that can withstand the heat of wood-burning fire, place wood charcoal on the bottom of the grill followed by wood chips that would help to fire up the grill. It will take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes for the heat to spread evenly to the charcoal.
Make sure there's no presence of fire and if fire occurs, sprinkle on some water.
- If you use Weber grill, preheat it to a medium high heat.
Grill Shashlik for 15-20 minutes turning from time to time, until meat is brown on the sides and cooked through.
How to check when Shashlik is ready?
After 15 minutes of grilling, carefully remove one piece of Shashlik from the skewer and slice it in half. If it’s no longer pink in the centre, Shashlik is ready.
Serve Mtsvadi immediately with my most amazing Shashlik sauce.
This sauce is optional, however I really encourage you to try it. It’s so delicious and goes great with meat or fish. You're gonna love it!
How do you make Shashlik sauce?
- In a bowl of food processor combine ¼ teaspoon of cumin, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 1 celery stalk, ½ cup of dill, ½ cup of cilantro, 1 medium avocado, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper to a taste and 1 tablespoon of water.
- Process everything until smooth and serve with Shashlik.
The sauce will keep in a fridge for 5 days.
Need more Georgian cuisine inspiration? Try some of these super delicious recipes.
- Khachapuri Adjaruli - traditional Georgian flatbread stuffed with cheese and egg
- Satsivi - chicken in A walnut-garlic sauce
- Georgian style Baby Bell Peppers And Zucchini Salad - easy and delicious side dish for any occasion
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and post it on Instagram with a hashtag #lavenderandmacarons. I love seeing your creations.
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Mtsvadi (Pork Shashlik)
- Metal or bamboo skewers
- Box grater or Kitchen Aid meat grater attachment
- Gas or wood-burning grill
To make Mtsvadi
- In a large bowl combine pork, onion, salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or lid and marinate for 2 hours or overnight*. (See the note 2)
- If you use the wood skewers, make sure to soak them in water for a minimum of 30 minutes before grilling. This will keep them from burning up on the grill.
- Thread the meat, sliced zucchini and tomatoes onto the skewers.
- Preheat the grill to a medium high heat.
- Grill for 15-20 minutes turning from time to time, until Shashlik is brown on the sides and cooked through. (After 15 minutes, remove one piece of Shashlik from the skewer and slice in half. If it’s no longer pink in the centre, Shashlik is ready.)
To make Shashlik Sauce
- In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients for the sauce and process until creamy. Serve immediately with Shashlik.
Iryna Bychkiv is the founder and writer of the culinary website Lavender & Macarons, where she shares clean, European-inspired recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, and made with wholesome ingredients. Iryna loves creating meals that are simple yet healthy and unique, including vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Iryna is also a freelance writer for MSN and Associated Press Wire.