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Hole-in-the-Wall Beef Skewers

John Gregory-Smith
Wander through the medina of Tripoli and you will soon smell the sizzle of beef kebabs wafting through the air as little hole-in-the-wall stalls grill up a storm throughout the day. To get the meat super succulent you need to have a high fat content—I suggest at least 20 percent fat. These kebabs are simple to make and cook fast on a barbecue. Rather than serve them in a wrap, I like to make these a little different, plating them up on a slick of hummus—either buy your favorite or make a batch—and then top the meat with a really zesty mix of red onion, sumac, and parsley.
Course Main
Cuisine Lebanese
Servings 4 servings


For the kebabs

  • 1 pound ground beef with 20 percent fat
  • ½ onion grated
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Lebanese 7 spice ?or baharat
  • teaspoons Aleppo pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • sea salt

For the onions

  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves

To serve

  • 10½ ounces hummus
  • flatbreads


  • Begin with the onions. Put the red onion slices in a bowl and add the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. Mix well and leave to macerate for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or barbecue to high. Put all the ingredients for the kebabs into a large mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and mix well. Thread the meat onto flat skewers (these prevent the meat from turning when you flip them over on the barbecue) so you have a sausage shape. You should be able to make 8 kebabs. Cook for 3–4 minutes on each side until charred and juicy.
  • Add the sumac and parsley to the macerated onions and mix well.
  • To serve, spread the hummus onto a serving dish. Lay the kebabs on top and pile on the onions. Serve immediately with flatbreads.