Grilled Lamb Kebabs in Yogurt 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Smoke Signals Aug 27, 2014

This recipe draws upon time-honored treatments from Turkey, the Middle East and India, using yogurt to tenderize and flavor the lamb. 

The recipe calls for grilling the meat first on one side, then the other. But turning the skewers throughout the cooking process is fine. Unlike a lot of grilled meats, which are best left alone for a while, kebabs, with their uneven sides, don’t mind some fiddling. The kebabs come out medium-rare. 

You’ll need 6 metal or 12-inch bamboo skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: You can make the marinade up to a day before using. The meat needs to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 pounds trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (16 to 20 pieces)


Combine the yogurt, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, lemon zest and juice and the mint in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the lamb and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage to coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Thread the lamb cubes on the skewers, using 4 or 5 pieces per skewer. Bring to room temperature before grilling. Discard any remaining marinade.

Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Just before cooking, use a little vegetable oil to grease the grate.

Arrange the skewers on the grill; cook, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes on one side, then use tongs to turn them over and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on the other side.

Carefully pull the grilled lamb from the skewers; arrange in rows on a platter or plates. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin.

Tested by Andy Sikkenga.

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