Spiced Ground Meat Skewers
These oniony, deeply spiced skewers, made with just about any kind of ground meat, are based on Adana kebabs, which are named for the Turkish city from where they’re said to have originated. Adana kebabs are traditionally made from hand-minced lamb that’s been larded with lamb tail fat, but the flavors of cumin, red chile flakes and sumac are just as delicious with regular ground lamb, or even ground beef or turkey. The trick to getting a pleasing, springy texture is to knead the meat and seasonings until the mixture feels sticky. Keep everything cold, and then wet your hands when you form the meat around the skewers. Cooking the kebabs over charcoal adds a compelling smokiness, but using the highest heat on your gas grill will also work well.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1pound cold ground meat, such as lamb, beef, turkey or a combination
- ⅔cup finely minced or grated white onion
- 2garlic cloves, finely grated, pressed or minced
- 2tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 ¼teaspoons ground cumin
- 1teaspoon ground sumac (see Tip), plus more for serving
- 1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1teaspoon Urfa or Aleppo pepper
- ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
Step 1In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, sumac, salt, Urfa pepper, black pepper, and cinnamon, if using.
Step 2With your hands, thoroughly knead and massage the meat to incorporate the ingredients, about 4 minutes. Breaking down the meat will create a sticky, cohesive mixture that results in a pleasing springy texture. You can also combine everything in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, in which case it will take only about 2 minutes. Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Step 3Wet your hands with cold water, then divide meat into 6 equal portions and mold each around a metal or soaked bamboo skewer (see Tip). Transfer skewers to a large plate or baking sheet. You can grill them right away at this point, or cover and refrigerate them while preparing the grill (up to 4 hours).
Step 4Heat the grill to high. When the grill is hot, lightly brush the grates with oil, and add the skewers. Cook, rotating them carefully every few minutes, until evenly browned and slightly charred in places, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for a few minutes. Garnish with more herbs, sumac and flaky sea salt, and serve.