Pork skewers, or Russian Shashlik

Pork skewers, or Russian Shashlik

Of all the many grilled recipes I've tried so far, my favourites are still the pork skewers made in the Russian or Caucasian style. Maybe it's because that's how I ate all my childhood. In our house, this was the only way meat was grilled. And it's also because they have a very special taste. My father used to marinate the pork with house wine (I now use beer). If we went out for a picnic somewhere, we would make the grill directly in the ground - we would just dig a small hole, place some stones around as support and we would just start the work.

It's interesting that my girls also prefer grilled meat, it's great joy whenever they hear about shashlik. And they don't even want to try other kinds of barbecue! So these pork skewers are really tasty and tender - follow with confidence the steps and recommendations for a best result.

There is a whole chapter in Russian and Caucasian cuisine about various shashlik marinades, but after many attempts and recipes I stayed with this one - optimal in taste and very simple.


Boneless pork shoulder
2 kg
you can combine it with pork flank
White onion
5 pieces
choose medium-sized onions
350 ml
black, white, even non-alcoholic, you can also use dry white wine
2 tbsp
Ground black pepper
1 tsp
you can use here a mixture of different types of pepper, if you have
Laurel leaves
2 pieces
Pickled cucumbers
5 pieces

Step by step


For the recipe you need metal skewers like these ones, mine are made of stainless steel and are inherited from my father.

Simple, thin, stainless steel skewers can be found in Romania, they also work.

If you know people in the Republic of Moldova, ask them to buy you some good, flattened stainless steel skewers from the market (also called shampoos). They work very well on the grill and their shape makes sense when rotated during grilling.


For this recipe I always buy a whole piece of neck, about 2kg.

I tried other types of meat, but the best and most tender pork skewers are made from the back of the neck. It can be combined with fatter pieces of flank, but not too much.


Cut the meat into large cubes of about 3-4cm.


Place in a bowl or a large dish.


Cut the onions into large slices, about 1.5 cm thick.


Toss over the meat, add the salt, the ground black pepper and a bay leaf crushed into small pieces.


Pour over the beer or the white wine.


Mix all the ingredients well with your hands.

Now it's very important to marinate for 8-10 hours in the refrigerator, or even longer. I usually prepare it in the evening, for the next day.


This is what it looks like the next day, after marinating. I transfered it to some boxes because the dish was too big for my fridge.

You will notice that the smell also changes, it's very good and specific to shashlik.


Pickled cucumbers are also cut into rounds. In this recipe it is important to use pickles in brine, not vinegar!


About the same time you start the the grill fire, you should also begin to arrange the meat on the skewers.

I alternate the pieces of meat with onions and pickles, try to use the size of the grill as a guide to how much meat you put on each skewer. Try not to overcrowd and squish the meat too tightly and also leave space at the ends, to be able to manoeuvre the skewers.


From these quantities you will have about 8-10 large skewers.

You can adjust the quantities to your needs.


The fire for the skewers should be medium, even medium-low, so that they cook slowly and don't get burnt. Rotate the skewers as often as possible and sprinkle from time to time with a little water or marinade, if the fire is too strong and makes flames.

Otherwise, the meat can quickly get too dry, or it can burn and stay uncooked in the middle.

Notice that we use a grill without the gridiron, the skewers rest on the walls. But they can also be put on the gridiron, if you don't have the right grill.


Serve the hot shashlik with any favorite salad beside.

My mother would always have here canned pea salad, even without mushrooms, only with onions, oil, salt and a little vinegar.

It's delicious and I really recommend trying it.


Quantity: 2 kg (8-10 large spikes)
Prep time: 60 min
Difficulty: easy
Ready in: 480 min
Publish date:

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