If you love grilled meats, then learning to grill the Turkish way is a must. Whether you have a charcoal or a gas grill, it’s easy to prepare one of Turkish cuisine’s most popular kebab dishes right in your own home.
‘Urfa’ kebab, like most Turkish kebab recipes, is a regional dish that comes from the southeastern region of the country famous for its spicy grilled meats. Urfa is a city in this region that made this juicy, delicious kebab made with ground beef and lamb so popular.
‘Urfa’ kebab is one of the few kebab recipes that is not spicy. If you love heat with your meat, try its cousin from a neighboring city called ‘Adana’ kebab.
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef, 80% lean
- 2 plain hamburger or hot dog buns, or similar kind of soft, white bread
- 1 egg
- 3 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. cumin powder
- 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
- ¼ cup chopped dill weed
- 25 wooden skewers
Begin by placing the wooden skewers in a pan of water. Let them soak while you prepare the meat. This will prevent the exposed portions from burning while they cook on the grill.
Wash the parsley and dill weed and shake out the excess water. Remove the stems and save the leaves. Chop the leaves finely and put them in a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer.
Add the remaining ingredients. Using the dough hook attachment, turn the stand mixer on low. Let the mixer knead the ingredients together for about 20 minutes. Push the meat that runs up the sides of the bowl back into the center several times during the mixing process. This will ensure a more even mixture.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, wear rubber gloves and knead all the ingredients together by hand for about 20 minutes.
When the meat mixture takes on the consistency of dough, you know it’s ready. Cover the meat mixture with plastic wrap right in the mixing bowl and rest it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
While the grill is firing up, divide the meat mixture into 25 equal parts. Holding a skewer in one hand, pick up one ball of meat with the other. By opening and closing your palm and fingers, mold the meatball along the stick to make a long narrow tube. You can taper the ends slightly if you wish so it adheres to the stick even better.
Place the ‘kebabs’ in rows on top of one another until you’re ready to grill them. They only take a few minutes on each side to cook, so make sure you have the rest of your meal prepared accordingly.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, let the coals burn down a little for a gentle, even heat. With a gas grill, let it preheat on high, then set it on a medium flame for cooking.
Place each skewer at a slight diagonal to the lines on the grill grate. This will give it nice sear lines where they touch the grill. Close the top and let the ‘kebabs’ cook for 3 to 5 minutes on one side. Using tongs, flip each one gently to the opposite diagonal to brown the other side.
Eat your ‘Urfa’ kebabs directly off the grill. For garnish, you can also grill hot green peppers and tomato wedges. Serve with potatoes, rice pilaf or bulgur wheat pilaf.