Traditionally, ground-meat kebabs are made with lamb, and while lamb kebabs are delicious, the meat is expensive. This summer, try some ground turkey on the grill. Not only does turkey blend well with spices, it’s affordable, and if you’re a hunter, kebabs are a great way to clear out the freezer in anticipation of the fall harvest.
If you’re not a hunter, no problem: head over to Town & Country, where they sell ground turkey for three bucks a pound. It’s crucial to use plenty of dark meat. Not only is the white meat twice as expensive, it’s less flavorful and dries out on the grill.
2 lbs ground meat
2 medium onions, minced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4-cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp gound cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp ground chili pepper
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil (optional; keeps kebabs from sticking to grill)
Tzatziki: (aka, dippin’ sauce)
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup cucumber, diced or shredded
2-4 Tbsp vinegar (for the best flavor use white balsamic vinegar available at Olivelle)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Salt & pepper
Start by mincing the onions into a large bowl using a cheese grater—making sure the onions turn into a paste with no chunks. Add the other ingredients and knead vigorously until smooth and pasty. Wet your hands and divide the meat into egg-sized lumps. Typically, kebabs are then pressed firmly around small, square-bladed skewers, two on each skewer, and formed into thin sausage shapes. However, I find that this step is superfluous as the individual lumps are easier to manage on the grill. Grill for approximately five minutes on each side until the meat is well-cooked. If using red meat, cook to desired rareness and be careful not to overcook.
For the tzatziki, (pronounced TSUT-seekee; the first “z” is not silent—“SAHT-zeekee” is okay, but if I hear you say “TA-zeekee” I will slap you!) combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Tahini or hummus are also great dipping sauces for kebabs, and don’t forget the spicy stuff!
Prep time = 45 mins.
Cook time = 10-15 mins.
Simon Peterson spends his summer evenings cooking extraordinary meals for custom fly-fishing trips at Montana Angler’s Boulder River Outpost, and prepares gourmet, riverside delights for trips down the Yellowstone and Smith rivers.