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Chislic (or sometimes chislick) is a traditional dish of cubed red meat most commonly localized to the state of South Dakota in the United States. The term, while non-specific to any particular meat or seasoning, generally describes wild game, mutton, or beef which is deep-fried or grilled, and served hot on a skewer or toothpick.
Traditional chislic is mutton. Other meat are variations due to unavailability or lack of knowledge.
The word chislic is likely derived from the Russian word of shashlik or shashlyk, which is cubed meat or liver grilled on a skewer with tomatoes, peppers, and onions. The origin of the word shashlyk is rooted in shish kebab, the Turkish and Arabic words for skewered meats. According to some sources, chislic was introduced into the United States by John Hoellwarth, who immigrated from Crimea to Hutchinson County, South Dakota in the 1870s.
It can be made from a variety of red meats such as venison, bison, elk, lamb and beef. Originally, chislic may have been made from lamb or sheep, rather than the currently popular beef sirloin.
Chislic is typically a simple preparation. Cubes of cut lamb, beef or venison, generally no bigger than a half-inch, are cooked in a deep-fryer. Generally, chislic is served medium rare to medium—i.e. warm pink inside. After cooking, while the meat cools on a paper towel, it is seasoned with seasoned or garlic salt. The cubes are eaten hot using toothpicks.
Chislic may vary slightly in preparation from region to region.
In the Sioux Falls area, chislic, usually deep fried mutton, is a popular bar food to accompany cold beer. It is often served with salt, soda crackers and hot sauce.
In the southeastern South Dakota communities of Menno and Freeman, chislic is generally prepared deep-fried in restaurants. The meat is almost invariably lamb, but wild game chislic, such as venison, may appear when in season. It is traditionally seasoned with garlic salt and eaten with soda crackers. The small, blunt skewer - or sometimes a toothpick – usually holds five or six cubes of meat. The same dish is also served grilled when prepared for large groups, such as gatherings at community organization fund-raisers or baseball games during the Fourth of July. The grilled variety is sometimes cooked with a brushing of barbecue sauce.
Annually in Freeman, SD, a chislic feast is held. Chislic can be found in Scotland, SD as well as other southeastern South Dakota towns. The local bars sometimes hold chislic feasts where more than 7 sticks of chislic may be consumed.