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A serving of beef chislic at a restaurant in Sioux Falls, SD.

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.


The word chislic is likely derived from the Turkic 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.[1] 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.[2]


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 flavored with garlic salt, or other varieties of seasoned salts. The cubes are eaten hot, using toothpicks.

Regional differences[edit]

Chislic may vary slightly in preparation from region to region.

In the Pierre area, chislic is a marinated meat, dipped in batter and deep-fat fried. It has been offered as an alternative to Rocky Mountain oysters. The marinades vary and are often family secrets.

In the Sioux Falls area, chislic, usually deep fried mutton, is a popular bar food to accompany cold beer. It is often served with garlic salt, soda crackers and hot sauce.[3]

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, a chislic feast is held. Chislic can be found in Scotland, 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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mack, Glenn Randall; Surina, Asele (2005). Food Culture In Russia And Central Asia. Greenwood. p. 83. ISBN 0-313-32773-4. 
  2. ^ Preheim, Rich. "The Chislic Circle". South Dakota Magazine (July/August 2005). Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ Suellentrop, Paul (November 15, 2014). "Play a game and try the chislic, it’s basketball time in South Dakota". The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS: The McClatchy Company). Retrieved November 17, 2014. 

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