… because what is life without good food?

Venison (or Beef) Shawarma

with lemon tahini yogurt sauce  … adapted from Mama’s Lebanese Cuisine

Venison (or Beef) Shawarma ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #Lebanese #Gyro #Taco #recipe

If you remember the movie The Avengers, they were talking about Shawarma throughout the movie and if you stayed until the very end, you got to see the super heroes going to the local shawarma restaurant (in full costume) for dinner. That scene intrigued me and made me SO curious to try Shawarma!

This Shawarma is a close Lebanese cousin to the popular Greek Gyro, but it’s much easier to make. Yes it takes time, but most of it is hands off time. There’s no spit involved, just a lively lemony Mediterranean marinade, some time to let the marvelous flavors infuse into the meat and some roasting time in the oven. If you’re not into (or don’t have any ready supply of) venison, just replace with a nice cut of beef and you’re set!

Personally, I’m very often the very lucky recipient of a whole lot of venison. My family loves to hunt and sometimes they have a huge excess of meat. This was one of those years. My parents got all the hunting licenses that they applied for … and they always seem to fill most of their licenses, so they were looking to empty their freezer of the previous years’ meat to make room for the new.  I came home with a cooler chock full of venison that weekend, with a promise that I would take more. I already had some venison in my freezer as well, so guess what? It was definitely time to cook up some venison.

We’re having a holiday potluck at work and (as perhaps is typical), there is a shortage of main dishes. I’ve made Chicken Shawarma in the crockpot, which was wonderful, but with all this venison in my freezer, I wanted to make something with venison. Shawarma was calling to me … so I decided to try venison shawarma.

Some people shy away from venison; they say it’s too gamy tasting. Personally, I don’t feel that way, but I like to boldly season my venison so the wild game taste fades into the background. Since wild venison is very lean, I added extra olive oil to keep the meat moist and it came out SO good. I’ll be honest: the meat flavor on its own is pretty intense, with all the Mediterranean spices and lemon juice, but with the yogurt sauce, lettuce, sweet onion and tomato on a pita or naan, it’s heavenly! Almost as good as an authentic Gyro.

I’m sold. I hope you try it … and I hope everyone at the potluck loves this venison shawarma as much as I do!

Venison (or Beef) Shawarma

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 10 hours

Yield: 8 - 12 servings

Venison (or Beef) Shawarma


  • 2 lbs. venison or beef cuts
  • For the Shawarma Marinade:
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the lemon tahini yogurt sauce:
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 4 Tablespoons tahini
  • 3 - 5 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 - 6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • To serve:
  • Pita bread or naan, warmed
  • Chopped crunchy romaine lettuce
  • Sliced sweet onion
  • Fresh tomato


  1. Cut the meat into small slices (2 - 3 inches long). In a small mixing bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil. Toss the meat with the marinade, put in a bowl or pyrex dish, drizzle with olive oil. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Put the meat and marinade in an oven-safe pan (or use the pyrex dish), stir to mix the juices and oil, then cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 hours, then remove from oven and let sit covered for 30 minutes to allow the meat to reabsorb some of the juices.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt sauce by blending together all the sauce ingredients in a handi chopper or small blender.
  4. To serve the shawarma: warm the pita bread to soften, then add several pieces of the cooked meat in a line down the center. Drizzle generously with the sauce, then top with chopped lettuce, onion and tomato. Enjoy!


If you're using beef or even lamb in place of venison, choose a cut with some fat in it and reduce the amount of olive oil in half. 

RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/

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Venison (or Beef) Shawarma ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #Lebanese #Gyro #Taco #recipe

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckWhat to Do WeekendsHappiness is Homemade and Pretty Pintastic Party.

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