The ground beef lule kebab recipe at Mini Kabob is a Martirosyan family secret, but they were willing to share their equally delicious chicken version. Freshly grinding chicken thighs with lamb fat gives these kebabs a rich, savory flavor and juicy, tender texture. The restaurant grinds all the meat in-house, and you can, too, with a grinder. (We like the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment.) Or ask your butcher. If you don't have a meat grinder, no problem: The F&W test kitchen developed an alternative (and less rich) version you can make using pre-ground meat (see Note). See How to Make Kebabs on the Grill to see the Martirosyan family's detailed step by step instructions for making the Chicken Lule Kebabs and other kebabs.

June 2022

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Credit: Photo by Julia Stotz / Food Styling by Caroline K. Hwang / Prop Styling by Samantha Margherita

Recipe Summary

active:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
3 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
Makes about 8 skewers
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place chicken and lamb fat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; spread into a single layer. Freeze, uncovered, until partially frozen, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place meat grinding attachments, an 8-millimeter (coarse) grinding plate, and a 4 1/2-millimeter (medium) grinding plate in freezer until well chilled, 15 to 30 minutes. 

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  • Fit meat grinder with chilled grinder attachments and 8-millimeter grinding plate. Position a large bowl under grinder. Grind alternating pieces of chicken, lamb fat, and onion wedges through feed tube into bowl for even distribution according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove 8-millimeter grinding plate, and insert 4 1/2-millimeter grinding plate. Pass chicken mixture through grinder once more.

  • Spread chicken mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Loosely cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Uncover and, using your hands, fold mixture together to evenly incorporate seasonings. Spread into a 1/2-inch-thick layer on baking sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. If using right away, freeze mixture, covered, until very cold but not icy, about 30 minutes. Or transfer mixture to an airtight container, and store in refrigerator until ready to shape kebabs, up to 3 days. 

  • Open bottom vent of a kettle grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter heaping full of briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour them onto the bottom grate, and arrange charcoal in an even layer into an 8-inch-wide strip down middle of bottom grate. Do not place top grate on grill. Arrange 2 skewers in an "L" shape, resting on rim of grill, with 1 skewer parallel to coal strip and 1 skewer perpendicular to coals. These will be used as a rack to suspend the kebabs.

  • While charcoal chimney is heating, shape the kebabs. Fill a medium bowl with water. Scoop 7 ounces (about 1 cup) chicken mixture from bowl; shape into a meatball, gently compacting it with your hands. Holding 1 dry skewer in one hand and meatball in the other hand, press meat onto skewer about 6 inches down from the pointed skewer tip. Wet your hand with water in bowl, and squeeze meat on skewer to shape into an even tube around the skewer, about 9 inches long and 2 1/2 inches down from pointed skewer tip, rewetting hand as needed to prevent sticking. Using your thumb and pointer finger on either side of the skewer, pinch to remove and straighten the top and bottom ends of the meat tube, removing about 1/2 ounce (3/4 inch) from each end. Put excess meat in bowl with remaining chicken mixture. Using a wet hand, press meat to flatten into a 7-inch-long rectangular tube (about 1 1/2 inches wide) that begins about 3 1/4 inches down from pointed skewer tip. Using your thumb and pointer finger on either side of skewer, starting from pointed skewer tip end, make 7 divots on 1 side of meat tube with your thumb, about 1/2 inch deep, running down length of meat. Divots should go about three-fourths of the way through meat to skewer. Place kebab on a rimmed baking sheet, resting outer ends of skewer on rim of baking sheet to suspend kebab so meat doesn't get smashed. Chill prepared skewer until ready to grill. Repeat shaping and skewering procedure with remaining chicken mixture and remaining 7 skewers.

  • Working in batches if needed, rest pointed ends of skewers on prepared "L"-shaped rack with handles overhanging the edge of grill and meat perpendicular to the charcoal strip. Grill, uncovered, turning often, until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes, repositioning kebabs over coals as needed to avoid large flare-ups. 

  • Rotate skewers 90 degrees so that they're parallel to charcoal strip. Continue cooking over indirect heat, uncovered, flipping and repositioning kebabs as needed, until kebabs are cooked through and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat (without touching thermometer probe to skewer) registers 165°F, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove kebabs from grill.

  • Using tongs, slide kebabs off skewers and onto a rice- or lavash-lined platter, if desired. Brush hot kebabs generously with ghee. Serve immediately.

Note

You can find lamb fat at halal butchers or online at frankiesfreerangemeat.com. To make a version without a meat grinder, omit chicken thighs, lamb fat, and onion wedges. Stir together 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken (white and dark meat), 3/4 pound ground pork, and 3/4 pound ground lamb. Grate 1 medium-size yellow onion on small holes of a box grater, and add to chicken mixture. Proceed with step 3. 

To make this recipe<strong> on a Mangal Grill</strong>

Divide the hot coals in half. Push coals to each end of the mangal, spreading them in an even layer and leaving about 10 inches in the center of the charcoal bed empty. Cook kebabs over the hot coals, rotating and repositioning the skewers as needed to prevent large flare-ups. Compared to a kettle grill, the coal bed in a mangal is much closer to the skewers, so shorten cook times by about 2 minutes. If kebabs are browning too quickly, finish cooking over the center section.

Suggested Pairing

Emphatic, full-flavored rosé: Castello di Ama Purple Rosé

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