Six Hour Roasted Pork Shawarma Recipe

Pork. Has there ever been a kind of meat more versatile? Has there ever been a kind of meat that has been the subject of this much godly wrath? No. There hasn’t. Let me start by declaring my love for pork. Pigs are wonderful animals; apart from making great pets, and having loads of character, they are the symbol for nose to tail eating. Every part of the pig can be used in some delicious, mouth-watering way, including, well, a pig’s nose and tail. The meat is delicious, the bones make fantastic stock (and ramen!), the skins makes a cracking crackle, the fat affords itself to unbelievable roast potatoes, the blood makes bloody great black puddings, the offal is stuffed into sausages and terrines, the trotters walk with pride into any soup; and perhaps the greatest ingredient in the world, jamon iberico (Iberian ham) de bellota would not exist without the pig. I love pork. I truly do. But here’s the thing: in reality, I’ve only really started eating pork when I came to Australia. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone! Here’s why I’ve missed out on 20 years of porky delights.

Consider the map of Lebanon above, surrounded by the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Though feuding nations, the major religions of Lebanon’s two neighbours – Syria and Israel/Palestine (what’s the PC term?) – seem to agree on one thing: No Pork. Lebanon itself is a country that is around half Muslim, so fresh pork is never seen in the supermarket or at the butchers. Back when I was growing up, the only pork products one could get was stock standard ham and mortadella. At least, that’s what my father used to buy. The closest thing to fresh pork that I had tried was a wild boar that our friend and neighbour Mohammad killed on a hunting trip. Mohammad, as the name suggests, wouldn’t eat the wild boar, so he gave it to dad, his best friend. Dad got a Christian butcher to cut the pig up, and we invited the whole family over for a barbeque and a feast. It was awesome; the freshest of charcoaled, moist, full-flavoured free range meat – an experience to remember even 15 years later.

Cooking pork is not something I do too often, as I try to watch the waistline (expand). The tastiest bits of the pork are the fatty meats and the skin. When roasted for 6 hours, this pork shoulder becomes fork tender, flaky and just falls apart. You simply want to gnaw into it, crunching into the crisp crackling, sucking on the fatty under layer and shredding into the meat – but I did one better. When added to the fillings of a shawarma, our awesome roast pork makes a fine substitute for lamb. Lainy even thinks it makes a better shawarma than lamb does. Imagine the soft meat, the glass-like shattering crackle, the fattiness, all mixed in with creamy, lemony tahini, parsley, mint, sumac rubbed onions, pickles and a final punch of chilli. It doesn’t get much better. Try it. You’ll find you can’t stop till you’ve completely pigged out!

Six Hour Roast Pork Shawarma Recipe

I roasted my pork shoulder the Jamie Oliver way. It’s sooo good. Check out his recipe here. It’s worth mentioning that using a bread knife makes scoring the pork skin much more easy, if your butcher doesn’t do it for you. I have a bit of a lazy butcher.

Make the tarator by mixing crushed garlic with lemon juice, tahini, salt and water. It needs to be thick but not too thick. Try to balance out the flavours depending on your brand of tahini. Use a Lebanese tahini as we make the best in the world, of course. Get some Lebanese bread, add some onions that are rubbed with sumac (here sumac is optional), chopped parsley, chopped mint (not traditional but I love it with pork), the tarator sauce, the shredded pork, some crackling, pickled chillis and pickled gherkins or cucumbers. Ready, set, destroy!


  • Haha, I adore your map and I’m in the same porky boat as you (except I shouldn’t eat it because I’m a pig, but who can resist?!). I didn’t eat pork until I moved to Sydney, but I think that means that we both have got some catching up to do!
    This looks divine and I want to destroy it right now.

  • Yes, great map, Fouad and fantastic photo. I’m really feeling the love!
    Next, I mean to eat it – great idea to use it in shawarma, thanks.

  • Really looking forward to making this. I don’t eat as much pork as I’d like to because again like you i didn’t grow up eating it. Actually im gonna see if i can convince my dad to get a few pigs for the farm… (I like your picture btw. and the shopping bit 🙂

  • Such a great versatile meat is the porky pig:) Pity its out of reach for so many….. but man, your sure making up for lost time with such awesome descriptions. Great idea using the shawarma though.
    Cheers Anna

  • Brilliant! the Mexicans have their pork carnitas, why not us, right? We probably help in creating it, since there are so many Lebanese in Mexico. Love that shawarma with the pork shredded like this and would love to try it. Just not here, in the US.

  • Can’t help but read this with an echo of Homer Simpson’s voice!

    It reminds me of the porchetta I ate in a forest outside of Rome. Nice twist with the Shawarma! I’m not a fan of pork (not a religious thing) so I rarely eat it as meat but I enjoy it in other forms: ham, pancetta, proscuitto etc.

    Your map is spot on. You should work for the UN 😉

  • Whoa. That looks and sounds delish. But I doubt it could ever actually replace the lamb, so I guess I’ll have to have both in my repertoire. What a hardship.

  • Loved, loved this map and post!! So witty and so true (and I’m a no pork eater due to my keeping kashrut and vegetarianism-but my part Christian Arab background understands the predicament!)

    “No Pork” is indeed the one thing Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria seem to agree on. Oh, and great food. Too bad all else seems to elude them…

  • Hey Lili – Hahaha. I love that map. It’s so dodgy, but so true 🙂 Here’s the deal, you come back to Sydney and we’ll do some tandem porky catch ups.

    Hello Amanda – Thanks! You must try the shawarma! It’s awesome, if I may say so myself. I would have marinated it in vinegar in spices if it didnt have the crackling, so you get some skinless pork, try marinating in lebanese mixed spices and red wine vinegar for a couple of days.

    FFichiban – oh yeah!

    Thanks Shanks! You can’t beat the original.

    Bethany! Hello 🙂 Ah, growing your own pigs! That would be awesome! Hehehe. The shopping bit, I’m glad someone noticed…

    Hi Anna. Thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed reading the post! Lovely to have you around 🙂

    Joumana – Oh yeah. Once you set foot back in the US, you must try this. I bet you will go crazy over it! Hope your loving Lebanon at the moment!

    Corinne – D’Oh! mmm, pork, aarrghh… 😛 I love cured pork products too, and I agree that usually they taste better than the fresh meat. I mean ham, bacon, sausages, chorizo, pancetta, ohhhh yeah!

    Vibey – Exactly. Why trade one for the other when you can have both? 🙂

    Hiya Sildi – Thanks! I totally agree with you hey. Why can’t we all not eat pork and just get along hehehehe.

    Hi Sara – I’m dying to know how it turned out. I hope you liked it 🙂

  • Just found your blog while looking for a lazy toum recipe, and had to chime in here as an Arab (Orthodox Christian) Jew who also found pork, heretically, late in life, and now has half a pig in her freezer, and who is looking for the excuse to roast that leg with the skin on it. Oh yes.

    Great reading along from the US!

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