köfte kebabs

cool skewers

One of the treasures that we brought back from Kansas City (and, no doubt, were responsible for our suitcase being searched) was this bunch of gorgeous skewers. They’re just what we’ve been wanting: long, flat and wide. Finally, we thought, we can make ground-meat kebabs without the meat falling off the skewer!


We were wrong, of course.

After Jon mixed up the spiced meat and lovingly molded it around the skewers, he rigged up a clever system of foil-wrapped bricks to suspend the kebabs over the grates. The meat promptly fell off the skewers.

kebabs & pita

Fortunately, even having dripped down onto the grates, the meat cooked just fine as a sort of elongated burger. And it was fantastically delicious, rather like exceptionally good gyros. We ate them stuffed into whole wheat pita which we had toasted on the grill, along with a Turkish cucumber-yogurt sauce called cacik and a pan of beautiful roasted cauliflower.

roasted cauliflower
cucumber yogurt sauce

This was our second grilling dinner so far this year (the day before we did steaks and asparagus). It may turn out to be a while before we can grill again, but this meal made me think that summer might someday come for real.

Butcher’s Köfte Kebabs

adapted from Turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • half a cup diced tomato (the recipe calls for two fresh tomatoes, but I just used a handful of drained diced canned tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp kofte spice mix (see below)
  • salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and mush up well in a bowl. Refrigerate for half an hour, then mold the mixture onto skewers and grill. Or maybe just make it into hamburger patties, if you have our luck with skewers. Serve with pita and a sauce made from Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic and herbs.

Köfte Spice Mix

  • 1/3 cup ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup dried mint
  • 1/3 cup dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika

Mix everything together and store in a jar.

4 thoughts on “köfte kebabs

  1. Sorry about the skewers J. But it also put a smile on my face because we’ve all been there at least once with our barb’es. The meal looked wonderful. One we will try.

    1. I’m just puzzled because all sort of Middle Eastern and Asian cookbooks talk about grilling ground meat on skewers, and as far as I can tell, the meat always falls off. With these flat, wide skewers (they’re a full quarter inch wide if not more), I really thought we might stand a chance. The recipe was wonderfully tasty, and I’m sure we’ll try again, but does anyone have any ideas of what we could do to keep the meat on the skewers?

      1. After a little research on eGullet, it looks like the trick is to form the kebabs onto the skewers and then chill them thoroughly before grilling. Anyone have experience with this? Will it solve the problem or will it just mean that the interior is raw while the exterior is burnt? Always a lovely combination, that.

  2. There is is a trick to this…first these skewers are for non-ground meats. If you wish to use these for the Koobideh (ground beef kabobs) then you have to make them very slender. I noted that you had them way to thick. Another option is going to a Halal/International market and getting the flat kabob skewers that are traditionally used. These are wide and you can add a bit more meat, you make them thin and pinch about every inch or so to make contact with the skewer it’self so it doesn’t fall off.

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