We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Mechoui?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Mechoui is a North African lamb dish which is frequently prepared in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Each nation has its own specific take on mechoui, so several different dishes are collectively referred to as “mechoui.” In all cases, this dish takes advantage of the flavorful tenderness of lamb to create a rich, memorable dish.

This term comes from an Arabic word which means “to roast on a fire,” distinguishing mechoui from dishes which are prepared in the oven. There are two basic ways to prepare mechoui. In places like Algeria, the lamb is roasted on a spit, creating a layer of crackling, crispy skin which many people find quite delightful. In Morocco, the lamb is roasted in the ground, much like a Polynesian pig roast, creating very moist, tender, flavorful meat. In both cases, the meat is heavily spiced before preparation.

Traditional mechoui utilizes a whole lamb, roasted in its skin. This means that the organ meats are cooked right along with the lamb, lending their own distinct flavor to the meat, and some Berber tribes have traditionally treated the grain-filled intestines as a delicacy, much like Scottish haggis. Certain prized organs like the liver and kidneys are typically offered to a guest of honor, along with delicacies such as the eye.

Most people eat mechoui with their bare hands, utilizing the right hand hand only, by tradition. This reflect a Muslim tradition of using the left hand for personal hygiene, rather than eating. The mechoui is often served as an appetizer in advance of the rest of the meal, and as you might imagine, the dish is designed to be served in a crowd.

In parts of the African desert, mechoui is a traditional festive dish, prepared in a pit Moroccan-style. One major advantage to preparing the mechoui with a whole lamb is that the dish is easy to transport in a hurry, if necessary, since the skin essentially acts like a carrying bag. This was undoubtedly usful historically, when tribes might need the advantage of being able to move quickly.

Many North African restaurants offer mechoui. Some prepare it whole, in the traditional way, while others simply use traditional North African spicing on lamb roasts such as leg of lamb. Good mechoui is often heavily spiced, with lots of garlic, making it an intense and very flavorful experience.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Mar 06, 2014

I love African and Middle Eastern food and spices, but I just can't hack lamb. I've never liked it. And eating a lamb whole? O.K. I respect the culture, but I couldn't do it. Organ meats are *not* my thing, although I completely understand the rationale behind using the whole animal and not wasting anything.

I'd like to try those spices and that cooking method on a roasting chicken. I'm sure it would be delicious too, even if lamb didn't get involved.

The only way I'll eat lamb is when it's mixed with beef and cut from a rotisserie, as for a gyro sandwich.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.