Armenian BBQ Barbecue (Khorovats/Xorovats)

A Delicious, Flavorful, Satisfying Signature Dish

The Armenian BBQ dish is a delicious, flavorful, satisfying, must-try Mediterranean dish that always delights the taste buds of anyone who tries it.  It leaves one craving for more.  It is not surprising to find everyone asking for another plate due to its exquisitely yummy and unique taste.  Grilled over hot coal or the Armenian mangal, this dish emanates a tempting smell of meat blended with the perfect combination of scented herbs.  The Armenian BBQ is more than just a dish.  It is a dish that unites.  Served on sticks or hot off the skewers, it makes eating fun and pleasurable.  It’s also a children’s favorite! 

In this article, you will learn everything about this amazing, all-time-favorite dish that originates straight from Armenia!  Let’s dive right in!

The Beautiful History of Armenian BBQ (Khorovats/Xorovats)​

The Armenian BBQ, also traditionally known as Khorovats/Xorovats is the signature dish of the beautiful Armenian culture.  The Armenian BBQ is more than just a dish.  It is a heart-warming dish that reunites the family during times of celebrations such as weddings and birthday parties.  One can picture this beautiful scene as an unforgettable moment when the whole family gathers around in the backyard on a warm evening, enjoying their yummy, warming, satisfying plate of Armenian meat, with music playing in the background as the elders continue to grill the BBQ over hot coal and its flavorful scent dissipates into the surrounding air – perfection!  This is the real magic of the Armenian BBQ.

A Sneak Peek into Armenia’s Rich Cuisine

Armenia is a beautiful Mediterranean country located in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe.  The Armenian cuisine reflects its geographical position.  It is a unique cuisine that was subjected to outside influences throughout history thanks to its connection with the European and Levantine cuisines.  It also experienced deep cultural exchanges with Greek, Turkish, Persian, and Arab cuisines.  The Armo-style cuisine is very well-known for its winebrandy, and vodka. It is a rich cuisine that uses unique preparation techniques to create authentic, appetizing plates of mixed vegetables and meats.  Different combinations of fresh herbs are used to bring a touch of extra freshness to almost every dish.

How Armenian BBQ Is Made

Preparing an Armenian style BBQ is more than just mainstream grilling.  It needs the perfect blend of ingredients and skillful grilling to reach the perfect, tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat every time.  The characteristic feature of this dish is that the meat is cut into large chunks rather than small ones.  The Armenian BBQ is made in 2 steps.  First, we blend the ingredients in perfect harmony to make the marinade and then, we adjust the mangal (grill) to obtain the perfect grilling parameters.

Step 1: The Savory Marinade

This richly flavored, savory marinade is meticulously prepared by combining olive oil, lemon juice, wine, garlic, pepper, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves in exact proportions.  The marinade is mixed with pieces of meat and allowed to penetrate the pieces deeply enriching it with the uniqueness of this amalgam of flavors.

Step 2: The Unique Grilling Process

Grilling is an art.  It requires skills, patience, and a cup of love to make the best, tastiest, juiciest, finger-licking grilled meat.  The Armenian barbecue grilling process can be done in three different ways depending on the grill used and the heating system.  Each grilling technique brings out a unique texture and aroma to the dish. The rest of the marinade is usually rubbed a second time over the large chunks of meat as they grill.

  1. Mangal

The Armenian Mangalalso known as the kebab grill is the traditional term used to describe the grilling apparatus for preparing BBQ or kebab from cut pieces of meat such as chicken and beef.  Unlike the American-style grills, the mangal grill does not possess any grates. Interestingly, the term mangal also symbolizes the heart-warming, loveliest moments when families reunite and spend quality time together.

  1. Charcoal Grill

The Armenian barbecue can also be made on a charcoal grill.  Charcoal requires more labor and may need heat beads to produce the best heat.  The charcoal grill also brings out the tasty flavor of the meat.  Armenians also like grilling vegetables at the same time for a perfect, steamy side dish.

  1. Skewers

Skewers can also be used to grill cubes of meat and veggies directly over heat.  Kabob Skewers are simply the long pieces of metal used for holding and binding chunks of meat and vegetable.  Meat threaded and grilled on skewers always come out tender and tasty.

How is the Armenian Barbecue Served?

The Armenian Khorovats are best served hot with grilled veggies, rice pilaf, lavash, pita bread, or salads.  It can also be served with onion rings, crispy potatoes or fries.  It can be paired with any dish as its exquisite taste can never be overpowered.  Some people love sprinkling paprika to add an extra bit of spiciness.  

Types of Armenian BBQ Meat

There are lots of variants to this Armo-style barbecue.  Different types of meat can be used to make this dish.  Most commonly, Armenians prefer using beef, chicken or lamb chops.  Pork loins, ribs, and tenderloins can also be used.

Why We Love Armenia’s BBQ

Who said we couldn’t taste heaven while still living on earth?  The Armenian BBQ is a blend of crunchiness with mixed herbs that impart a unique taste.  If you’ve been looking for a fun dish to try with friends, the Armenian BBQ is the ideal option as it makes biting from sticks so much fun, interactive, and pleasurable. 

Want to try our delightful authentic Armenian BBQ dish to experience the uniqueness of the Mediterranean cuisine?  Take a look at our menu by clicking here:

Bon appétit!  

Բարի ախորժակ!


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