Persian Barg Kebab (“Leaf” Kebab)

Barg Kebab


Persian Barg Kebab (“Leaf” Kebab)

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: At least 8 hours for marinating the steak
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Method: Direct Grilling


  • 2 pounds boneless New York strip steak, trimmed (see Note below), each steak about 1 inch thick

For the marinade:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For serving:

  • Cooked rice, preferably basmati
  • Grilled tomatoes
  • Grilled lemon halves
  • Diced onion
  • Ground sumac (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Lavash (Persian flat bread; optional), warmed

You'll Also Need:

Recipe Steps

1: Butterfly the steak by cutting it through the short side to the opposite side. Open the steak and arrange on a cutting board. Using the back (dull side) of a heavy chef’s knife, pound the steak along its length at intervals of about 1/4 inch. Arrange in a single layer in a nonreactive baking dish. (Alternatively, place the meat in a large resealable plastic bag.)

2: Using a grater or the grating disk of your food processor, finely grate the onion. Place the onion in a fine sieve over a medium bowl. Squeeze the onion (or press it with a spoon) until it releases its juices. (Reserve the onion bits for another use.)

3: Soak the saffron in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes.

4: Add half the saffron-infused water to the onion juice. (Reserve the remaining half for basting.) Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and the olive oil. Stir to combine. Pour the marinade over the steak; turn the steak to coat. Cover (or seal the plastic bag) and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24.

5: Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully run a flat metal skewer through each piece of steak, starting from the short side and running the length of the steak. (Alternatively, use two long bamboo skewers; run them parallel to each other to prevent the steak from spinning when it’s turned.)

6: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well with vegetable oil.

7: Season the steak kebabs with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grill grate and grill for about 2 minutes per side, or until cooked to your liking, brushing once or twice with the remaining saffron-infused water.

8: Transfer to a platter or plates. Serve with rice, grilled tomatoes and lemon halves, and diced onion. Sprinkle lightly with ground sumac, if using, and chopped parsley. Warmed lavash makes a nice accompaniment.

Note:: If desired, you can substitute center-cut filet mignon (butterfly 3 inch pieces), sirloin, or skirt steak.