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Kofte Kebabs

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Post Fri May 31, 2013 3:30 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
This is a cook from last weekend. Kofte is minced meat (usually lamb or beef) mixed with spices and grilled on a flat skewer. It's sometimes also grilled as meatballs on a stick, too. (Sorry about the quality of some of the pics as I had to use my old smartphone.)

For this cook I decided to try something different, too. Here's something I call Greek Salad Relish (aka. Greek Salsa, I guess). This is just a regular Greek salad, but cut into a smaller dice:

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Start with diced onion, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumber, and add sliced Greek (kalamata) olives and diced feta cheese.

Now according to three different Greek restaurant owner/chefs I know, the secret to a fantastic Greek salad is in the freshness and selection of the ingredients, so here are their exact suggestions:
    Onions - use red onions
    Tomatoes - use Roma tomatoes if possible, seeded but with skins on
    Lettuce - leave it out completely
    Peppers - green is OK, red Italian ramshorn are the sweetest
    Cucumber - English cucumber with the skin on
    Olives - only use Greek kalamata olives and oit them yourself (the pre-pitted ones are too soggy and salty)
    Feta - Bulgarian sheep feta is the absolute best and that's what these chefs serve to family. According to all of them, "Cow feta is for cooking only (as in spanakopita), and goat feta is for lunch rush customers."

I have to totally agree with them on the above tips, especially the feta. Sheep's milk feta is unbelievably tangy and creamy compared to cow and goat's milk feta.

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The dressing is a basic vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, olive oil (preferably Greek, of course :D ), oregano, salt, pepper, and a clove of crushed garlic if desired.

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Mix everything together and serve fresh. In this case we'll be using it as a condiment.

The kofte themselves are just ground beef or lamb mixed with spices such as salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, sage and such. These ones are just ground beef mixed with McCormick's Greek seasoning.

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They cook quickly. I made the slight mistake of individually wrapping them as I didn't have a big enough fridge to hold the platter full of skewers. As a result, the first two were half-done by the time the last two went on the grill so they were well-done. :D

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Sometimes ground meat kebabs can stick if you don't have a skewer rack for grateless grilling. So the ridiculously-inexpensive $2 burger spatula makes a great helper.

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The mark of a really good kofte are the ridges the cooks put on them with their fingers. Unfortunately, my skewers weren't quite wide enough to get the full treatment. I need to get some extra-wide metal skewers this year. :D

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I'm really happy with this spatula. It's from a restaurant supply house and it's just a $2 basic long burger spatula. This one is 10 years old and has flipped over 6000 burgers at a lot of company picnics.

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The pitas go on for only 30 seconds or so per side. More than that and they turn very crunchy. That's great for pita chips but not so great for holding a kebab as the crisp pita gets messy and splits.

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Keep the Greek salad relish close at hand.

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Here's another good tip: if you're using skewers like these, keep all of the handles the same way up. That way, you'll know exactly how many times you've turned the kebabs and they won't get overcooked. I've been doing this so long it's just second nature). These kebabs are done....

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... so grab the warm pita in one hand...

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... and use it to pull the meat off the skewer. The tip of the skewer may be really hot, so you'll hear a satisfying sizzle when the meat comes off the skewer.

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Top with the Greek salad relish, and tzatziki sauce if desired, and eat! Unfortunately, I was out of the tzatziki sauce on this cook because I'd forgotten to pick up some Balkan- or Greek-style yogurt.

Even without the tzatziki sauce (which is just yogurt, grated cucumber, salt, pepper, garlic and sometimes, mint) these kebabs were great. They're really simple and worth a try.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:00 am
smokeybeaver well done
well done

Posts: 835
Looks really tasty. Have you tried the Israeli feta cheese from Trader Joe's? It is my favorite.

Post Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:05 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2289
Location: Southern Californy
:shock: Wow! What a wonderful post, CG! Sure don't see that everyday. I'd luv to try your koftie kebabs. I bet they were delicious! :D
Got beer???

Post Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:23 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
smokeybeaver wrote:
Looks really tasty. Have you tried the Israeli feta cheese from Trader Joe's? It is my favorite.


Actually, no, since Canada doen't seem to have a Trader Joes anywhere. I wish we did because I've heard so many good things about TJ that I'd be their most regular customer. But I'll keep an eye out for Israeli feta for sure. Someone's gotta have it up here.

The Bulgarian sheep's milk feta will have to do for now, though (and I don't mind that at all). :D
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:30 pm
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1184
Location: Warrington, PA
WOW...WOW..WOW..

CG there is a place near my office called Kabob Kafe and I hit that joint once a week, but yours look even better.

Any trouble getting the Kofte to hold together while cooking?
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Post Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:30 am
QJuju well done
well done

Posts: 1961
Location: La Grange, Kentucky

Wow those look tasty and the relish as well. I like those flavors a lot, but don't get to them often as the wife refuses to eat olives. You gave me some ideas on how to pull this off while keeping both of us happy.
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Post Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:38 pm

Posts: 46
This is totes my kind of food. My husband is away this week, so lamb and pitta will definitely be on the menu for me.

Post Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:21 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
sroach wrote:
WOW...WOW..WOW..

CG there is a place near my office called Kabob Kafe and I hit that joint once a week, but yours look even better.

Any trouble getting the Kofte to hold together while cooking?


Actually, a couple of the kebabs didn't want to stay on the skewers at first but none were too much trouble. I think that's why I need the extra-wide skewers instead oh the medium ones.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:41 pm
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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Location: Stoughton, WI
Great cook and writeup, CG!

Post Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:20 pm

Posts: 3
Made this recipe last weekend. Loved it man

I love kabobs, and this recipe came out yummy, soft, flavorful

Good job man!!

Post Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:28 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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Location: Stoughton, WI
Welcome to the board, Greg!

Post Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:58 am
CharredGriller User avatar
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
gregbaker979 wrote:
Made this recipe last weekend. Loved it man

I love kabobs, and this recipe came out yummy, soft, flavorful

Good job man!!


Yes - welcome to the board, Greg!

Glad you liked the recipe. Another twist on these kebabs is to just use any burger recipe you like (except stuffed burgers), and mold it onto the skewer. Because there's more surface area to brown, these types of kebabs have almost totally replaced burgers at my place.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:20 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
OK CG now I'm gonna have to go out and buy some of those flat skewers. WOW! You have blown me away! :shock: I'm lovin' all those pictures!!! (No apologies needed for those my friend) Might just have to whittle me some flat sticks. :lol:


I need to ask, what gas grill is that you're cooking on? Love the cast iron grates! 8)
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Post Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:17 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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Posts: 5918
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Bob-BQN wrote:
OK CG now I'm gonna have to go out and buy some of those flat skewers. WOW! You have blown me away! :shock: I'm lovin' all those pictures!!! (No apologies needed for those my friend) Might just have to whittle me some flat sticks. :lol:


I need to ask, what gas grill is that you're cooking on? Love the cast iron grates! 8)


That's a basic MasterChef E550. It has 4 burners, a side/sear burner, and a rotisserie burner, with about 650 sq. in. of grill space.
I picked it up at a local Canadian Tire store on sale for $300 last summer. It may have been a clearance, because I haven't seen it in their catalog since.

Oh - and I keep the grates clean with a wire brush and Steven's grill scraping tool. :D
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:08 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Thanks for the info. It looks like a local product, exclusive to Canadian Tire.

The grates are almost gone on my 15 year old charcoal grill. :cry: The porcelain coated body is still in great shape. I may have to fabricate new food grate and coal grates.
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