Chislic may be prepared with venison, lamb, or beef, but in my opinion, venison works best for this distinctive South Dakotan cuisine. Chislic is made with bite-sized pieces of meat that have been deep-fried and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Many restaurants and grills in South Dakota offer Chislic as an appetizer. This dish seems to be made differently everywhere, but I’ve never tried a Chislic that I didn’t like. Except maybe beef Chislic, I mean, I like it, but it doesn’t come close to venison or lamb.
Chislic should be around the size of a quarter and the thickness of your thumb. The finest cuts for venison are backstraps and round roasts since they provide the largest chunks of meat and need the least trimming. It can be served loose or on a stick, much like a lamb.
Any deer camp is guaranteed to love venison Chislic since it’s so easy to make and exceptionally tasty.
What is South Dakota Chislic?
Few people outside of South Dakota are familiar with Chislic, which is often fried lamb or venison on a stick. It’s uncommon elsewhere, but in this 40th state of the union, it’s huge. South Dakota’s favorite dish, according to the area’s leading newspaper. The leading magazine in the area named the state’s southeast “Chislic Circle.” Small-town bars and restaurants around Sioux Falls always have the best Chislic.
The Turkic word shashlik or shashlyk, which is derived from the Turkish word for skewered meats, shish kebab, is thought to be the source of the word Chislic. John Hoellwarth, a Crimean immigrant to Hutchinson County, South Dakota, in the 1870s, is said to have brought Chislic to the United States.
In the 1930s, Chislic finally started to gain in popularity in the region. To this day, there is still debate on who first began selling Chislic in Freeman. Lamb Chislic is typically served with soda crackers after being deep-fried till crispy.
Many people recommend washing it down with a cold beer. Today, you may get your Chislic in many variations, such as marinated or with a dipping sauce.
South Dakota Chaslic Festival
The last Saturday of every July is when Freeman, South Dakota, hosts the South Dakota Chislic Festival.
South Dakotans compete in a judged Chislic contest as part of the Chaslic festival in categories including “Classic Sheep” and “New Age Nosh” in an effort to win bragging rights. A selection of Chislic, meats, sides, sweets, beverages, and craft beers made in South Dakota are available from vendors.
Ingredients you’ll need
Venison backstrap – You can use lamb for a more traditional Chislic recipe.
Salt and pepper
For Dipping Sauce
How to make South Dakota Chislic
See the recipe card below for full recipe directions with information on ingredient amounts.
Step 1: Slice and cube the steak into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mix until the meat is thoroughly coated. Give the meat time to marinade for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Step 3: Add oil and heat a large heavy-bottom pot to 375F. Take a chunk of meat and dip it in the heated oil to check the temperature. The oil is hot enough if it immediately begins to sizzle.
Step 4: Add 4-5 pieces of meat at a time to a pot and fry for about 1 minute or until medium-rare. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pieces from the oil and set it on a dish covered with paper towels to absorb any remaining oil. Keep adding the rest of the cubes until all are cooked.
Step 5: Add Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and thinly sliced green onions as garnish (optional). Serve alongside saltine crackers and dipping sauce (combine all sauce ingredients and mix well).
Chislic in Air-Fryer
Step 1: Slice the venison (or lamb) into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Add in the venison bites and mix well until evenly coated. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight for the best result.
Step 3: Set an air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes to preheat.
Step 4: When it’s ready, add the Chislic cubes to the basket and air fry for 4–5 minutes at 400°F, for medium-rare, or more, depending on how you like your Chislic.
Chislic is a South Dakotan specialty prepared differently in each region of the state from cubed meat (lamb or venison) that is often seasoned and deep-fried. In this recipe, the venison is marinated in Worcestershire sauce before deep-fried.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 lb. venison backstrap (if you prefer, use lamb or beef)
- 2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper
- Canola oil for deep frying
For Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp of BBQ sauce
- Start by cutting your meat into bite-sized cubes.
- Combine Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix until the meat is evenly covered, and let it marinate for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Add oil to a large heavy-bottom pot and heat to 375F. Take a piece of meat and put it in the hot oil to see if the oil has heated. If it sizzles quickly, the oil is ready.
- Fry 4-5 pieces of Chislic at a time for about a minute until they are medium-rare. Using a slotted spoon, take the meat out of the oil and put it on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil. Repeat the process with the rest of the Chislic pieces.
- Add Parmesan cheese, sliced green onion, and crushed red pepper (optional).
For Dipping Sauce
- Add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and one tablespoon of BBQ sauce in a small bowl and mix until well combined.
Share the image below to your Pinterest board if you like this South Dakota Chislic!