I ate a lot of good things when I was in Istanbul last winter—eggs scrambled with tomatoes and chilies, flatbreads topped with cheese and eggs, teeny tiny dumplings served with yogurt and sumac—but kebabs, made with juicy lamb meat molded around flat metal skewers and grilled over live coals were the kind of thing that even at their worst, were still pretty freaking awesome. Here's how to make them at their best.
'kebab' on Serious Eats
The reliable combo of mint and lamb joins forces in these juicy kebabs with red onion, zucchini, and a rich yogurt marinade.
Balsamic vinaigrette adds a tanginess to fresh vegetables that have been skewered and grilled until lightly charred.
A coating of Dijon mustard and mixed herbs gives these flavorful leg of lamb skewers a crisp, intensely flavorful crust.
Built with layer upon layer of flavor—first with a spicy, earthy rub and then with a sweet and fruity glaze—these pork and pineapple kebabs taste way more complex than their simple preparation may suggest.
Cubed pork chops doused in garlicky and tangy sour orange sauce are contrasted with sweet mango in these mojo-marinated kebabs.
A riff on tandoori-style chicken, these chicken kebabs are marinated with yogurt and lemon, with smoked and hot paprika in place of the more traditional Indian spice blend. The result is a completely different, but equally delicious, dish.
Chicken isn't generally the go-to meat for fajitas (flavorful skirt steak is the deserving star usually), but this flavor-packed marinade made with cilantro, tart lime juice, brown sugar, cumin, and crushed red pepper makes it a worthy stand-in. Here, we thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and cook them kebab-style. It's everything there is to love about chicken fajitas on one stick, minus the tortilla, of course.
A ginger-teriyaki marinade and glaze gives these grilled beef kebabs a savory sweet flavor with just a little bite.
These robust beef kebabs pair marinated steak with mushrooms and onions to deliver a steakhouse experience on a stick.
Supremely spicy with layers of earthy undertones, this Pakistani-influenced ground chicken makes for one delicious and complexly flavored skewer of meat.
A regional treat of Binghamton, New York, these super marinated cubes of chicken are skewered, grilled, and then delivered to a soft roll to make one amazing sandwich.
I've seen sausage-like brochettes in North African restaurants in the past, but I'd never attemped to make them. I like that it's essentially like making a hybrid meatball and sausage, but with no need for stuffing or casing--and more immediate results. The spice combination and the herbs were also intriguing: nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon and cumin.