There may be no dish as satisfyingly primal as the kebab. Meat on a stick is a culinary domain common to both 21st-century man and his paleolithic ancestors. In fact, it's theorized by many celebrated anthropologists (read: nobody) that homo sapiens evolved from Neanderthals at precisely the moment that they started putting meat on sticks, freeing mankind once and for all from the indignity of greasy fingers.
Imagine it: our Neanderthal ancestor, hunched over a plate of frozen mammoth meat. He looks at his meat, then at his Neanderthal bretheren, then back to his meat. "No, no!" he says,"These greasy fingers simply will not do!" And all at once he rams a stick through his catch, thrusting it skyward for all to see. And thus, Serious Eaters, modern man was born.
That was a dramatization, of course, but you get the point. Just because the apparatus of the kebab is primitive, though, doesn't mean it has to taste like it. (I'm told mammoth is gamey). Here are 17 recipes that are sure to render juicy, flavorful kebabs every time. Before you get started, be sure to check out our guide to making great grilled kebabs. Then skewer, grill, eat, and repeat.
- Kofte Kebabs with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce and Grilled Flatbread (Minced Lamb Kebabs)
- Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers
- Adana Kebabs (Ground Lamb Kebabs)
- Herb-Crusted Lamb Skewers with Dijon Mustard
- Chicken Keema
- Chicken Spiedies (Lemon and Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwiches)
- Chicken Kebab with Carrot-Raisin Salad and Greek Yogurt Sauce (Tzatziki)
- Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers with Pineapple and Teriyaki Sauce
- Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs
- Cilantro-and-Lime Marinated Chicken Fajita Kebabs