Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Carne Diem
Method: Grill or SmokerJump to Recipe
These Middle Eastern Grilled chicken skewers have become a favorite dish to get when eating at one of our local Middle Eastern restaurants. Thankfully we have also discovered how easy Shish Taouk is to make at home. Tender cubed chicken is marinated in a yogurt-based marinade with warming spices like allspice, ginger, and sumac, before hitting the grill.
Table of contents
What is Shish Taouk?
Shish Taouk, also known as Shish Tawook, is a grilled chicken kebab originating in the Ottoman Empire and now famous throughout the Middle East. Shish Taouk consists of marinated chicken skewers that are grilled, and literally translates to "chicken skewer."
Making the Lebanese Grilled Chicken Kebabs
To make the Shish Taouk you just need some cubed chicken and need to make a simple yogurt-based marinade.
Making an easy shish taouk marninade
To make the marinade for shish taouk you will need Greek yogurt, tomato paste, lemon juice, olive oil, and some assorted spices. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the olive oil and tomato paste.
Next stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, and all of the spices and herbs. Mix well, until evenly combined.
Prep and marinate the chicken
Cube the chicken thighs into about 1-inch cubes then add to the bowl with the Shish Tawook marinade. Coat all of the chicken well, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Do not marinade the chicken for more than 24 hours as the lemon juice in the marinade can cause the cubed chicken to become too mushy.
Skewer the chicken for the Lebanese Chicken Kebabs
Carefully skewer the marinated chicken onto wooden or metal skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, we recommend soaking them in water far about 10 minutes to help prevent them from burning on the BBQ grill.
Cooking the Shish Taouk on your BBQ grill
Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and set up a zone for direct and indirect heat.
Grill the shish taouk over direct heat, turning and flipping every few minutes. Cook the chicken kebabs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If the outside of the chicken is getting too dark before reaching 165 degrees, then move the chicken to indirect heat to finish cooking.
Once the Lebanese chicken skewers are done cooking they are ready to eat. Remove from the grill and get ready for some of the most flavorful chicken kebabs you have ever had.
What to serve with Shish Tawook
Grilled Shish Tawook pairs great with other Lebanese and Middle Eastern favorites like our Smoked Jalapeno-Cilantro Hummus, smoked moussaka, and Lebanese Baked Kibbeh: Kibbeh Bil Sanieh. Make it a Lebanese feast with some Smoked Lebanese Chicken Shawarma.
Be sure to check out more of the best skewered meat recipes from around the world:
- Peruvian Anticuchos de Pollo: Peruvian Chicken Skewers
- Grilled Chicken Souvlaki- Greek Chicken Skewers
- Grilled Chicken Tikka Skewers
- South African Sosaties: Lamb and Apricot Kebabs
- Korean Corn Dogs: Gamja Dog
- Spicy, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: Bottle Rocket Shrimp
We find the cubed, boneless, skinless chicken thighs make the best chicken skewers. Dark meat chicken is much more resistant to drying our compared to white meat chicken, making it easier to get differing sized chicken pieces cooked evenly.
According to the USDA, chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Shish Taouk and Shawarma are both Middle Eastern chicken dishes, however, there are some differences in how the are prepared. Shish taouk is more likely to contain a marinade with yogurt and spices and typically served as kebabs. Chicken shawarma is more likely to contain warming spices like cinnamon and clove and does not typically contain yogurt. Shawarma is traditionally prepared on a large spit or trompo.
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Grilled Lebanese Shish Taouk
- 4 Skewers
- 2 Pounds Chicken Thighs
- ½ Cup Whole Milk Yogurt
- ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Sumac
- ¼ teaspoon All Spice
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cube the chicken into about 2-inch cubes.
- Mix the tomato paste with the olive oil, then mix in the yogurt and lemon juice. Add the spice mix and combine well.
- Marinate the cubed chicken for 4-8 hours.
- Carefully skewer the marinated shish tawook.
- Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and set up a zone for direct and indirect heat.
- Grill the shish taouk over direct heat, turning and flipping every few minutes. Cook the chicken kebabs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If the outside of the chicken is getting too dark before reaching 165 degrees, then move the chicken to indirect heat to finish cooking.
- Serve the Lebanese Chicken Skewers warm with pita or flatbread.