May 2, 2016

My Doner Kabab

By Glenn

I am a huge fan of the doner kabab.  On a research trip to England as a graduate student, I would buy one several times a week for supper.  The gyros in the US are simply not the same.   This effort was my attempt to get closer then the gyros.  Obviously I could replicate the spit, but I could approach the flavor.

I started with a boneless leg of lamb.  One end is usually intact while the other naturally separates into pieces.   I cut the intact end into cubes 1.5 inch, and then realized they would cook better if I halved the cubes, making them flatter.   The other end I turned into ground meat using a Kitchenaid grinder attachment.

Next came the seasoning.  I could find no consistent pattern online for doner kabab spices.  After sorta through a dozen or so, I settled on the following:

  • Ground Cumin tsp
  • Ground All spice tsp
  • Turmeric tsp
  • Cardamon tsp
  • Ginger tsp
  • Cinnamon tsp
  • Dry Orange peel tsp
  • Ground black pepper tsp
  • Nutmeg .25 tsp
  • Ground Clove .25 tsp
  • Herbs de Provence tsp

I laid an even layer  of the lamb cubes in a deep rectangular dish and coated them with about half the spices.    After rubbing in the spices, I poured a drizzle of olive oil and then sprinkled with salt.  It marinated for about three hours.

Next, I turned to the ground lamb, adding the spices as well as an egg and Italian bread crumbs.  I shaped the meat into a sausage shape using plastic wrap and placing a metal skewer in the center.  Once the meat was a 1 inch tube, I flattened it into an oval patty.  Below is 1/2 the meat.  I froze the other half to enjoy another day.


I grilled the meat on a BBQ pit will above the flame on a raised grill pan, coating both sides lightly with sunflower seed oil.  The rendered fat cause the flames to jump, and the meat cooked quickly in about 3 minutes for each side.    If you don’t have access to a BBQ grill, you can always use the broiler in your oven or pan-fry.


The smell was divine as it cooked.  The flavor was really close to a real Mediterranean lamb kabab.  I served it in pita with cabbage and topped with a home made Tzatziki Sauce.


Don’t forget the wine.  We had a Chianti.



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