Mtsvadi, also known as shashlik in Russian, is more than just skewered meat—it’s a culinary symbol of Georgian history and tradition.
Originating from the rugged landscapes of the South Caucasus, Mtsvadi holds a place of pride at Georgian supras (feasts), encapsulating the rich flavors of the nation’s pastoral life.
The tradition of making Mtsvadi dates back to ancient times, resonating with tales of hunters and warriors who would cook skewered meat over open fires.
Over the centuries, the preparation has evolved, incorporating influences from various cultures and empires that swept through the region.
Yet, the soul of Mtsvadi remains unchanged: it’s the taste of Georgian unity, hospitality, and the unbreakable bond with the land.
- Pork shoulder: 1 kg (preferably with some fat)
- White wine vinegar: 100 grams
- Red onion: 100 grams, thinly sliced
- Fresh coriander: 20 grams, finely chopped
- Fresh parsley: 20 grams, finely chopped
- Salt: 20 grams
- Black pepper: 5 grams
- Pomegranate juice: 50 grams (optional)
- Dried marjoram: 5 grams (optional)
- Skewers (metal or wooden)
- Charcoal grill or barbecue
- Cut the pork shoulder into 4 cm cubes. Aim for pieces that include a bit of fat for flavor.
- In a large bowl, combine the pork cubes, sliced red onion, white wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Add pomegranate juice and marjoram if using.
- Mix well, ensuring that the pork is evenly coated with the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Overnight marination is ideal for enhanced flavors.
- If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before skewering the meat. This prevents the wood from burning.
- Thread the marinated pork cubes onto the skewers, leaving a small space between each piece for even cooking.
- Preheat the charcoal grill or barbecue to medium-high heat.
- Place the skewers on the grill and cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side. The meat should be golden and slightly charred.
- Final Touch:
- Once off the grill, sprinkle the Mtsvadi with freshly chopped coriander and parsley.
- Serve hot, straight off the skewers or removed and placed onto a platter.