Nice Weather = WEBER (X): Kebab-O-Rama

After two consecutive visits to Beyti Kebab, I couldn’t get that taste out of my brain and I wanted to try to replicate the taste of adana kebab and beyti kebab at home. And when you’re very hungry, nothing beats a whole bunch of meat grilling up on your Weber.

For my home, clearly interpreted and modified version of adana kebab, I went with 85 percent ground beef, because it was on sale at the supermarket and I am on a mild health kick. However, I think that the 80 percent version will come out juicier. If you can get some ground lamb, even better — go 50/50 beef and lamb.

The original adana kebab is made completely with lamb but I think a mixture is better. Greeks, Israelis and Lebanese have similar kebabs made with mixed meats, such as Kefta/Kufta/Kofta Kebab and I have incorporated some of those ideas as well.

The recipe or technique we are trying to achieve is to get an authentic Middle Eastern flavor using supermarket ingredients on a typical gas home grill. If you’ve got a charcoal grill, even better. We’re combining various recipes of adana kebab (named after the Adana region of Turkey) and beyti kebab, which is similar but also has garlic and other herbs and spices in it and is named for a famous kebab restaurant in Istanbul.

Nice spring weather means its Weber time again! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

To try to replicate the spicing of the adana at Beyti Kebab, I bought a fresh package of long, green Hungarian-style peppers from the supermarket. For about 2lbs of beef, I used six of them. You could probably also use 2 or 3 Cubanelles, but then you would have to add in a jalapeño or two to the mix to get some heat.

Chop the peppers up very fine and add them to the meat. On top of that, you’ll want to add a LOT of chopped garlic (4 cloves or more) chopped parsley, finely chopped onion (a nice big onion’s worth) a shake of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and optionally a shake or two of sabah baharat, aka finely ground Middle Eastern 7-spice mixture (Cardamom, Clove, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin & Nutmeg) which you can find in a Middle Eastern or Israeli grocery — if you have halal butchers in your area, they probably have it as well as nice ground lamb — if not you can get it mail order from Kalustyan’s or other Internet spice vendors.

Other stuff which you might have in the pantry that you can add to the mix:

Hot/Smoked paprika. You could also add chopped mint, which will give the kebabs a distinct Lebanese or North African flavor, making them more like Kefta or Kofte kebabs. I also like to toss in a little bit of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning mix (the secret ingredient in Gyros) just to give it that slight shot of MSG.

There’s a lot of regional and local variation in Middle Eastern-style ground meat kebabs, so don’t be concerned if you don’t have all the optional seasonings or if you use more or less of one spice or another.

After mixing up the spices into the meat thoroughly, and letting the meat and spices meld for about 20 minutes, take approximately 1/4 to 1/3 a pound of meat and form into flattish sausages. They don’t have to look perfectly symmetrical but they need to be thick enough to fit on the skewers and flat so they can be turned easily.

Adana Kebabs on the skewers.

I also took some cubed pork loin and marinated it in a mixture of sour orange juice (if you can’t get sour oranges, use regular orange juice with a hit of lime or lemon juice) Daisy Martinez’s Pineapple Vinegar and a few shakes of hot sauce. I used a Caribbean-style hot sauce made with habaneros (Matouk’s) but really any hot pepper sauce will do nicely. I then seasoned this with salt and pepper and a nice dose of cumin. If you don’t want to use pork, use chicken breast.

Allow the pork to marinade for at least 20 minutes. Optimally, you’d like to let this go for several hours, covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Sometimes I even let this go overnight if you want a really intense marinated flavor.

Thread the pork cubes onto the skewers.

Grill up some of your favorite veggies.

After the veggies are cooked, grill the kebabs.

Grilled Vegetables

I couldn’t resist grilling up a chicken with some BBQ sauce.

Caribbean-style pork kebabs

Adana Kebabs. Serve over rice or with your favorite salads.

14 Responses to Nice Weather = WEBER (X): Kebab-O-Rama

  1. slowdrip says:

    Oh man this is just awesome! Good food always brightens up my day. I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks!

  2. caterchick says:

    C’mon Jason!
    4 cloves is not a LOT of chopped garlic !!
    ; )

  3. Sam Leibowitz says:

    I may try this this weekend!

  4. Caterchick: I used more like 8 to 2lbs of meat. But I’m a garlic nut.

  5. Deborah Dowd says:

    OMG! This looks incredible! I am not sure what loks the best, but your post made want to fire up my grill tonight! I am showing this to my husband who loves to do the grill cooking and we are trying this (especially the kebabs!

  6. E.Nassar says:

    Nice food Jason. Grilling meat is one of the many awsome pleasures in life. I am very intrigued by the Pinapply Vinegar though. Did you make it yoursefl following the recipe? Does it turn sour as it ages? I wan to give it a shot. I tried making pineapple vinegar once following a Diana KEnnedy recipe and the result was not very good.

  7. Yes, we made a few jars from Daisy’s recipe, some months ago. It gets better and better with age, but spicier and more garlicky, not more sour.

    In addition to kicking up marinades its great as a condiment for fried dishes, like fish and chips or hush puppies or fried shrimp.

  8. crussum says:

    How do you keep the ground meat from falling off the skewer when grilling? Mine always tend to break when I turn it on the grill.

  9. Amy says:

    Have you ever tryed the Turkish restaurant in Montclair, NJ?

  10. Jason, I found you at ZDnet blog about Wind River’s Multicore Software Hypervisor solution; a sensible concept. Noticing your restaurant reviews and recipes, have you thought about creating a mobile platform for it? Please see “my website for server or website to mobile for details; contact me if you’d like to talk. Thank you.

  11. Zillah says:

    Is pork kebab an authentic Middle Eastern flavour???

    • Its an authentic Mediterranean flavor for Kebabs, particularly in Greece, as Souvlaki is commonly served as pork cubes. Also in Spain (as Pinchos) and Italy. In the middle east where Halal and Kosher dietary practices are observed, no.

  12. Jesslyn says:

    I’ve always been curious why so many outstanding cooks/chefs and cookbooks featuring Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes always recommend using ground beef and/or a mixture (like meatloaf) of ground meats instead of just ground lamb.

    I’d really love to know WHY?

    Lamb has SO much more flavor – at least here in the USA Midwest. Frankly, I pretty much use ground lamb as a substitute for ground beef in all kinds of recipes – including burgers!

    I have many “secret” add-ins to use with ground lamb – but I’m writing today mainly because I’d love to hear feedback about why so many peoplee prefer not to use lamb or at least to mix it withan equal or larger ratio of other ground meats. Thanks!

  13. nina says:

    very nice

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