This seasoned bulgur and lamb paste that is truly Labanon's national dish exists in dozens of forms. Most typically, it is served as part of the meze spread as kibbe nayyeh, a sort of Lebanese steak tartare of raw lamb, drizzled with olive oil. the same paste, layered with a meat-and-pine-nut filling and oven-baked becomes kibbe bi saniyeh (Kibbe in a tray), see Note. but the most spectacular presentationthe one that tests the skills of traditional cooksinvolves shaping the kibbe mixture into thin-walled torpedoes, stuffing them with the aforementioned filling and deep-frying them.
Every cook in Lebanon has a different way of making kibbe. Proportions of grain to meat vary from a fifty-fifty blend to one with a far greater amount of bulgur. Among the seasonings, allspice (which the Lebanese call sweet pepper) is always present, as are salt, pepper and, sometimes, cinnamon, cumin or even a little hot red chile.
Traditionally, the fat used for making kibbe, and the fat used throughout Lebanon, was either samna, a sort of clarified butter, or rendered fat from the tail of the Lebanese fat-tailed sheep.