Beef chislic from "The Keg" restaurant in Sioux Falls, SD.

Chislic (or sometimes chislick) is a preparation of cubed red meat, usually deep-fried or grilled. It is virtually unknown outside the state of South Dakota in the USA. The term, while non-specific to any particular meat or seasoning, generally describes wild game, mutton, or beef, deep-fried and served hot on a skewer or toothpick.



The word chislic is likely derived from schaschlik, the German variant of shashlik, which is cubed meat or liver grilled on a skewer with tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Chislic may have originated as a derivative of shish kebab, as the pronunciation of the word bears a close resemblance to other items in the same food family. The delicacy's arrival in America has been traced to John Hoellwarth, who arrived in Hutchinson County, SD in the 1870's from Crimea in southern Russia, where "shashlyk" was popular.[1]

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.


A typical chislic preparation can be rather simple:

  1. Cut meat into small cubes, generally no bigger than a half-inch. The meat may include any of the following: lamb, beef, venison, goose.
  2. Into a deep-fryer, drop the cubed chunks of meat and cook to desired degree of doneness. Generally, chislic is not overcooked, and served medium rare to medium -- i.e. warm pink inside.
  3. After cooking, place the meat on a paper towel and allow to cool slightly. While the meat is cooling, sprinkle with Lawry's Seasoned Salt or garlic salt.
  4. Insert toothpicks into the cubes of meat and serve hot.

Regional differences

Chislic is deep fried meat on a skewer that may vary slightly in preparation from region to region.

In the Pierre area, if you ask for chislic, you will most often get a marinated meat, dipped in batter and deep-fat fried. This local delicacy started showing at Rocky Mountain oyster feeds as an alternative for those who did not eat calf testicles, which were also dipped in batter and deep-fat fried. 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 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 giant chislic feasts where more than 1200 sticks of chislic may be consumed.[citation needed]

See also

External links


  1. ^ South Dakota Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

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