These Urfa kebabs are so juicy and flavorful with just handful of simple ingredients! Unlike Adana kebabs, Urfa kebabs are not spicy, which means even kids will enjoy!
I don’t really know much of Turkish cuisine, but I’ve always been fascinated by their kebabs. Specifically, Döner kebab! Some day I’ll be heading to Turkey just to try their amazing kebabs!
So anyway, last summer, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across this delicious plate of food. That irresistible kebab was calling my name, and of course, I asked for the recipe. And Joanna Tahar kindly shared her recipe.
I’ve made it quite a few times since last summer, and it’s always been a huge hit n my family. Surprisingly, my boys (4 and 2) get so excited about these too!
This Urfa kebab recipe is your ticket to become the backyard barbecue star!
WHAT IS URFA KEBAB?
So before we get to the recipe, let’s learn a little bit about the background of this dish. There’re two similar kebabs in Turkish cuisine, Urfa kebab and Adana kebab.
Both of these kebabs are named after large gastronomic cities, Urfa and Adana. While for the most part, they’re pretty similar, the biggest difference is in the spice level. Adana kebabs are famous for their spiciness, while Urfa kebabs are mild, yet still pretty delicious.
INGREDIENTS FOR URFA KEBAB:
As mentioned above, you only need handful of ingredients, and most of which you probably have on hand. I was quite surprised when I found out I don’t need any special spices.
- Meat – Traditionally, Urfa kebab is made with a combination of beef and lamb, minced with a special chopping tool (<- It’s a fascinating process! Watch it here, starting at 1:30) But anyway, you can simply use ground beef, or lamb, or combination of the two, which is also my favorite. I recommend 80% lean, 20% fat ratio for the meat for the best flavor.
- Panko breadcrumbs – Joanna’s recipe called for bread sliced to make a homemade breadcrumbs, but I went with a shortcut and used Panko, as I usually do with my meatball recipe.
- Eggs – It’s a binding ingredient and helps to keep the kebabs in shape.
- Onion and garlic – I recommend yellow, or white onion for this recipe. But since we don’t eat onion in our family, I omit it. (That’s why you don’t see it in the photo.) Freshly grated, or pressed garlic is the best!
- Herbs – I feel like fresh herbs add ton of flavor and character to these kebabs! We’re using lots of it. If you can’t find fresh dill, you can use dried dill as well. Just use less of it, as dried herbs are more potent.
- Spices – We don’t need anything crazy, or hard-to-find spices here. Just cumin and smoked paprika, that’s it! See? Nothing spicy, and you can confidently feed your little ones.
HOW TO MAKE URFA KEBAB:
It’s really quite simple to make Urfa kebab.
I do recommend to plan ahead and allow the meat mixture to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour. For 2 reasons:
- The mixture will firm up after chilling, which is much easier to handle and shape around the skewers.
- Flavors will get a chance to mingle together and develop.
So let’s make the kebabs:
- Step 1: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and knead until nice and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
- Step 2: With moist hands, take about ½ cup of meat mixture and shape it around the skewers into a flat log shape, firmly pressing the mixture around the stick.
TIP: Keep a bowl of cold water to dip your hand. The meat mixture won’t stick to wet hands.
- Step 3: Preheat the grill to high and lightly oil the grates.
- Step 4: Carefully place the kebabs on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping half way through.
WOODEN SKEWERS vs METAL SKEWERS
If you don’t make ton of skewer dishes, you’ll probably find it more convenient to use wooden skewers. However, I prefer metal skewers. And here’s why:
- They’re reusable, and you’ll never run out of skewers!
- You don’t need to soak them for 30 minutes.
- You pay for them once and they’ll last you a lifetime.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH URFA KEBABS:
Joanna told me that kebabs are served with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. And grilled sweet peppers are great too!
You can, of course, serve your kebabs with anything you want. Here’re some suggestions:
Hope you’ll give this a try soon, and if you do, please let us know how you liked them!
- 1 lb 450gr ground beef (80/20) (Note 1)
- 1 lb 450gr ground lamb (80/20)
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs Note 2
- 2 small eggs
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 small onion grated (Note 3)
- 4-6 garlic cloves grated
- 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley minced
- ½ cup minced fresh dill Note 4
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- To prepare the skewers: soak wooden kebab sticks in water for at least 30 minutes. (Or you can use these metal skewers and skip this step.)
- To make the kebab mixture: Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined and refrigerate for 1 hour. The mixture will firm up and flavors will develop. (TIP: After 1 hour, test seasoning by frying a small amount on a frying pan. And adjust the seasoning to taste.)
- The consistency of kebab mixture should be not too dry, and not too wet either. Check the consistency after the refrigerating for at least 1 hour. If it’s too wet, add a little bit of Panko.
- To shape the meatballs: keep a bowl of cold water to dip your hands.
- With moist hands, take about ½ cup of meat mixture and shape it around the skewers into a flat log shape, firmly pressing the mixture around the stick.
- Arrange the meat skewers on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat a gas grill on high heat. Clean the grates and apply vegetable oil with a paper towel.
- Once the grill is nice and hot, carefully place the meat skewers. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Flip the skewers and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers.