Postal stamp of Tajikistan "Oriental bazaar" displaying an old man grilling shashliks on a mangal
Even though the word "shashlyk" was apparently borrowed from the Crimean Tatars by the Cossacks as early as the 16th century, kebabs did not reach Moscow until the late 19th century. From then on, their popularity spread rapidly; by the 1910s they were a staple in St Petersburg restaurants and by the 1920s they were already a pervasive street food all over urban Russia.
While it is not unusual to see shashlik today listed on the menu of restaurants, it is more commonly sold in form of fast-food by street vendors who roast the skewers over wood, charcoal, or coal. It is also used as a food to be cooked in outdoor environment during social gatherings, similarly to barbecue in English-speaking countries.
In Iranian cuisine, meat for shashlik (as opposed to other forms of shish kebab) is usually in form of large chunks of meat, while elsewhere the form of medium-size meat cubes is maintained making it similar to brochette. The meat is marinated overnight in a high-acidity marinade like vinegar, dry wine or sour fruit/vegetable juice with the addition of onions, herbs and spices. Shashlyk is usually cooked on a grill called a mangal.