Best Shawarma and Kebab Experience at Home: Best Spit Rotisserie Ovens

Making traditional kebabs at home is easier than you think. Nowadays, rotisserie ovens with spits can provide you all the necessary tools to roast or grill the most delicious traditional dishes. However, you would still need to learn a few tricks to create that real ethnic experience. Specially made equipment can solve the cooking part. Nevertheless, the rest of the puzzle is finding the right recipes. And for that, I am your guide. I have been lucky enough to work in many international food establishments. Therefore, I gained inside information on preparing and cooking shawarma, gyro, falafel, shish kebabs, and other meat-based specialty plates.

Over the years, it turned into a passion for learning and experimenting with these old-world techniques and using spices’ power. Today, I want to help you find the right appliance for your particular needs and add a few original recipes on the way. So that you will be able to cook like a pro and prepare delectable world food for your family and friends, let’s begin, shall we?

Countertop Kebab and Shawarma Machine: WONDERPER Vertical Rotisserie Oven Electric Grill

Shawarma, or with its Greek Name gyro, is best grilled on a vertical grill. It is customary as, you may have seen in many world-food restaurants, or at the gyro shops in the mall. However, shawarma is also cooked on horizontal grills (usually coal ones) in certain parts of the Middle East. Taste-wise, it does not make a difference if it is cooked on a vertical or horizontal grill. Nevertheless, the ones made on horizontal charcoal grills are prepared from small cattle meat like sheep and goat. That is why they have a distinctive taste. In the western world, shawarma can be made from beef, pork, chicken, or from a combination of these. However, the original version contains 50% beef and 50% lamb meat. It is up to you to choose the meat type you want when cooking at home with the Wonderper rotisserie oven. Just pick up your favorite.

This vertical rotisserie cooker never failed to amaze me, even from my first shawarma attempt with it. The most confusing part of operating a spit rotisserie for a novice cook is getting to know when to turn the meat. It needs to be rotated in steps or very slowly. Do not expect from it to turn like the swing carousel! Though, you don’t have to plan for any of this since the Wonderper has a rotating motor that turns automatically when the heat is on. Each time you apply some force with thongs, the shawarma changes direction automatically.

Talking about the heating element, it has an open structure. It is made especially this way to imitate the original kebab or shawarma grill. You can broil the meat effortlessly. In addition to the heating elements, there are half-round stainless-steel reflectors to use the energy better. Note that there is no cover and no timer on this oven. However, you don’t have to worry about splattering thanks to the smart design. It starts to heat at a steady temperature when you turn it on. It could not be any simpler to operate.

This appliance is for home use only. You can invite your friends and throw a World-Food party, but do not expect industrial capacity from it. The maximum shawarma cooking capacity is 6.6 pounds (3 kg), which can feed approximately 10 to 12 people if you serve the meat in traditional pita bread sandwiches. In general, I make about 3 to 4 pounds each time. Take note that you need to wait about 1 hour before you cut the first slice. Otherwise, the meat could still be raw. After the first cut, you can slice every 15-20 minutes or until the new meat layer gets cooked.

The assembling and set up is practical. All the removable parts make it easy to clean. Wash them with hot water and mild detergent; everything comes off easy since most parts are made from stainless steel. There are some other models with glass covers. Still, it is hard to attain traditional kebabs with them because it defeats the purpose of broiling. It would be best to have an open heat element for real kebab, shawarma, or gyro. Keep in mind that you can also cook many different foods with the Wonderper vertical oven like the whole chicken, shish kababs, tacos al pastor, gyros, and fish on skewers (my favorite).


  • 6 skewers and plastic cogs
  • 1 pc cog-central spit
  • 1 pc central spit with the plate
  • Fat collecting tray
  • Weighs 5.7 pounds

Meat Cooking Times on Spit

Type of Meat                          Time / Weight

Beef                                         20 minutes / per pound

Pork                                         40 minutes / per pound

Lamb                                       30 minutes / per pound

Chicken                                   45 minutes / per pound

Traditional Shawarma Recipe

Meat selection and preparation are vital when it comes to making any kind of ethnic food. This issue is because of the simple fact that different cultures use diverse meat types. And sometimes, you just have to add lamb or pork to match the original recipe’s exact flavor. Plus, using unique spices in varying amounts can make a big difference in the final outcome.

This recipe makes use of the best selection of meats. Some cheaper versions indeed include ground beef, but not this one. However, the following is the exact premium shawarma (gyro or doner kebab) method.


  • 2 lbs. premium beef rib steak
  • 2 lbs. premium lamb meat (cut from leg)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 3 medium size white onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste


  • We start by slicing the meat into smaller pieces. This helps to place them on the spit securely later on. Cut all the meat into 1/2-inch thick chunks.
  • Grate the white onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Make sure you peel the tomatoes first. Use a food blender if you have one.
  • In a large enough bowl, combine and mix the grated onions, garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice, melted butter, and olive oil. You need to blend them well.
  • Get a standard oven tray and lay aluminum foil on it.
  • Our goal is to place the meat into the mixture and then lay on the foil. Eventually, we will wrap as a cylinder.
  • Place one beef rib and then add one lamb steak. Continue until you put all the meat on top of each other.
  • Roll the meat into a cylinder form and place it in the freezer for about 5-6 hours.
  • Take off the meat from the freezer.
  • Let it rest for 20 minutes and set up the rotisserie oven in the meantime.
  • Insert the spit into the meat right from the center.
  • Place the spit into the oven and plug it in.
  • It takes about 45 to 60 minutes for the first layer of the meat to get ready for slicing. After the first cut, you can get a new slice each 15 to 20 minutes.

Tip Alert

Add a bottle of sparkling water (8.45 Fl Oz) to the yogurt mixture. This will shorten the marinating time for about 1 hour while improving the taste immensely.

Chicken Kebab Skewers Recipe

Chicken kebab is so easy to prepare for skewers, yet it tastes amazing. I prefer chicken breast meat since it is easy to marinade and sticks well onto the skewer. Chicken kebab tastes and looks better if you add a lot of cayenne pepper (add according to your tolerance).


  • 2 pounds chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 medium size white onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper (Decrease if you cannot eat hot food)
  • Salt to taste

For decorating on the skewers:

  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes cut in to halves
  • 2 green bell pepper cut into small wedges
  • 2 yellow bell pepper cut into small wedges


  • Cut the meat into 1 ½ -inch square cubes.
  • Grate the white onions and tomatoes. Make sure you peel the tomatoes first. Use a food blender if you have one.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine and mix the grated onions, tomato paste, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, ground pepper, salt, and olive oil. Blend them well.
  • Add the cubed meats into the mixture.
  • Seal with aluminum foil and place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Take the meat out from the fridge and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Place 1 or 2 cubed meats on the skewer and then add a cherry tomato slice. Add two more meats and add a bell pepper wedge. Continue as you wish until you put all the meat on the skewers.
  • Set up the rotisserie oven with the skewers and turn it on. It takes about 20-30 minutes to cook.

Authentic Kebab Skewers Recipe

This is the actual kebab recipe. In Turkey, the hot and spicy version is called Adana, and the less spicy one is called Urfa. The two are actually the names of two different provinces. Obviously, people like to eat a lot of kebabs at both of these locations. You might have encountered kebab on many ethnic restaurants worldwide. The original kebab is not made from ground beef. The rib steaks are cut into tiny pieces with a special knife called SATIR. It resembles the ground beef, but it is not. However, I understand that preparing this at home can turn into a hassle easily. So, you can either use ground beef in the following recipe or slice the same amount of rib steak into really tiny parts. I leave that choice to you. It is extremely easy to prepare kebab once you have all the right ingredients.


  • 2 pounds of rib steak cut into super small size (1/4 of an inch or so), or 2 pounds lean ground meat
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4 medium size white onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of hot red pepper (Decrease if you cannot eat hot food)
  • Salt to taste


  • Cut the meat into very small parts (about 1/4 of an inch—tinier the better). Alternatively, you can use lean ground beef for your convenience. Add the red pepper, ground pepper, and salt on the meat.
  • Dice the white onions and tomatoes (the smaller the better).
  • In a medium size bowl, combine and mix the diced onions, tomatoes. Mix them well.
  • Add the cut meats or the ground beef into the mixture.
  • Seal with aluminum foil and place in the fridge for 2 hours at least.
  • Take the meat out from the fridge and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Place the meat mixture on the skewers. Squeeze the meat well on the skewer by hand to secure.
  • Set up the rotisserie oven with the skewers and turn it on. It takes about 20-30 minutes to cook.

What is a rotisserie oven?

A special cooking method, the rotisserie oven was developed to imitate the traditional fire roasting of the meat that is skewered on a rod. It is also called spit roasting occasionally. Modern rotisserie ovens use gas or electric heating elements instead of wood or charcoal. However, there are attachments that you can hook onto your barbecue.

How does a rotisserie work?

Rotisserie cooking takes use of indirect heat. The meat is placed on a spit and roasted while it slowly turns. The turning motion is vital to cook the meat evenly. It is a traditional method used in the Middle Eastern but has lately started to become popular in Western countries. Some models have automated turning systems, while others have to be turned manually.

How do you keep a rotisserie chicken moist?

You need to add some kind of liquid at the bottom of the rotisserie to keep the chicken moist while being cooked. The best way to achieve that is to add chicken broth in a deep oven-safe dish. Next, place the broth filled dish at the base of the rotisserie. The steam that comes out of the dish helps to maintain the moisture in the cooking environment.

What can I cook on a spit?

Nowadays, most people would think of shawarma or gyros when they see meat on a rod. However, cooking meat on a spit is one of the oldest methods. Therefore, it is not limited to just one type of meat. You can cook chicken, turkey, prime ribs, and other types of meat efficiently. Also, try grilling veggies on a spit to prepare tasty side dishes.

Can I put a rotisserie chicken in the oven?

You can reheat a rotisserie chicken in your standard oven. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, place the rotisserie chicken on a large enough oven-safe plate. Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, place the chicken inside and reheat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure yo remove the chicken from its packaging bag first.


  • Add tail fat (from lamb) to kebab mixture if you want to accomplish the exact old-world aroma. This is also why it smells so good whenever you pass by a kebab restaurant. In addition, they use charcoal to enhance the aroma that is created by the tail fat. The standard ratio is 20% tail fat to 80% ground beef.
  • When making kebab from 1 lb ground beef: add a tablespoon of baking soda into a half cup of water and stir well. Add this mixture into the kebab before placing it on the skewer. You will be amazed by the improved flavor.


  • Use lean ground meat for kebabs if you want to cook them on the skewers. If the ground meat has too much fat content, it will fall off from the skewer during cooking.
  • Never cook gyro or shawarma without marinating first. It takes at least 4 hours in the freezer or 12 hours in the fridge for the meat to absorb the flavoring.

In Conclusion

You can turn your kitchen into an ethnic restaurant instantly. All you need is the necessary equipment that can cook kebabs, gyros, shawarmas, and other similar meaty foods the right way. Middle Eastern cuisine heavily rely on lamb meat. However, the meat they use is not just any lamb meat. They select from cattle raised in certain regions to get the best flavor. A simple bakery ingredient is also one of their secret weapons to turn any regular ground beef into kebabs. You can select one of the best rotisserie ovens with spits to cook any kind of ethnic meat dish at home with ease.

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