Shish tawook, chicken taouk, or Lebanese marinated chicken kebabs or aka heaven on a stick. Bite-size pieces of both (boneless and skinless) chicken thighs and thin-cut chicken breasts marinated in fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots of garlic and a plethora of spices. Threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled, chicken tawook can be dunked into garlic dip or placed in warm pita bread and top with tomatoes, cucumber and onion for a sandwich or on top of a veggie-loaded salad.
Lebanese cuisine is at the tippy-top of my favorites.
Not only because it tends to be healthful, but also you’ll find robust spices, lots of lemon and there’s usually tons of garlic involved. Which translates to delicious flavor injected into the recipes and the food. And let’s be real there’s that garlic sauce!!!
In this tawook recipe, bite-size pieces of both (boneless and skinless) chicken thighs and thin-cut chicken breasts marinate in fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots of garlic and a plethora of spices. After marinating, the chicken is then threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled.
The smell coming off of your grill is spectacular. I swear I could feel my neighbors peeking at me from out of there windows and from around the corner on their back decks. My guess is that they’re probably wondering “why in the heck is she taking pictures while grilling?”… but I’m also pretty sure the mouth-watering smell brought them out in the first place.
To Make Shish Tawook You Will Need:
- 10 to 12 wooden skewers
- boneless, skinless chicken thighs and thin-cut chicken breasts
- kosher salt
- cardamom (ground)
- sumac (ground)
- dried oregano
- cinnamon (ground)
- white pepper
- clove (ground)
- grated nutmeg
- fresh garlic cloves
- a large lemon
- extra light olive oil
- minced parsley, for serving
- Lebanese garlic sauce (toum)
First thing to do is soak your skewers, if using wooden bamboo ones. Metal skewers, obviously wont need it… but bamboo do. Soak for at the very least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Water soaked skewers are less likely to catch fire on the grill.
Place 1 pound of each boneless and skinless chicken thighs and thin-cut breasts into a large bowl. I like to use thin cut chicken breast because when it’s cut into bite-size pieces it’s the same thickness as the thighs.
Measure and add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
1 teaspoon ground cardamom.
Then a 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and paprika.
And a 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac berries, 1/4 teaspoon of both ground cinnamon and white pepper.
Grate in 4 medium cloves of garlic. Garlic that has been grated, is the best way to get garlic into a dressing or marinade. Whereas mincing garlic leaves you with larger pieces of garlic that could potentially burn up or fall off the chicken, grated garlic sort of melts into the dressing or marinade and sticks to the meat better.
Squeeze the juice from 1 large and juicy lemon. It almost doesn’t fit in my juicer.
Lastly, add in 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil. Any high-heat safe oil will work.
Use tongs to toss and combine.
Cover and marinate on the counter top for 20-30 minutes.
Drain the wooden skewers, and thread! I alternate thigh and breast meat so that each skewer gets a little of each. Plus my OCD brain won’t allow it any other way.
Preheat your grill to medium-high. Once it’s hot, place the chicken on the grill, I reduce the heat to medium and cook, rotating the skewers until fully cooked. Which is anywhere between 5-8 minutes. A hot grill will cook these quickly and give you good grill marks, just remember to turn it to medium to avoid over cooking or burning. And watch those skewers! There’s still a chance they will catch fire even if they’ve been soaked, so don’t venture too far from the grill.
As you can see, the ends of some of my skewers still caught fire and some just blackened. It happens.
However, the chicken is perfect. Which is the most important part amiright?It’s moist, flavorful and so darn easy! You now have a few choices on how to serve this; you can either slide the grilled chicken off of the skewers (once cooled, of course) and dunk into garlic dip and eat, or place the chicken pieces on warm pita bread and top with tomatoes, cucumber and onion for a sandwich. OR top a veggie-loaded salad with it… which is what I tend to do most often.
Shish tawook, I heart you.
Check back tomorrow where I’ll be sharing with you how to make Lebanese garlic sauce (aka toum)! You DO NOT want to miss this!
Try this shish tawook in my Chicken Tawook Salad!
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