Ultimate Home Kebab
You’ve seen the vertical spit, the giant rotisserie of stacked dripping meat, marinating and cooking at the same time? Then sliced to order to become a gyro for your belly? Well, doner kebabs were developed first, in Bursa, Turkey in the 19th century Ottoman Empire. Following World War II, doner kebab made with lamb was present in Athens, introduced by immigrants from Anatolia and the Middle East. A distinct Greek variation developed, often made with pork and served with tzatziki sauce, which later became known as gyros and popularized in 1970s Chicago. Other variations include chicken shawarma and even al pastor, brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 20th century. I love them ALL!
Following is Jen of Carlsbad Cravings’ recipe. Usually, I change recipes up a bit to my personal liking, but jacking with this one felt just plain wrong. So here it is, in all its detail and summer glory. Instructions are for baked or grilled (I baked, but grilling gets crispier more caramelized edges), and for wraps or plates (I tried both). Delicious!
CHICKEN AND MARINADE
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in half
(note: I did not do this, and the skewers were a bit unwieldy and provided fewer crispier edges, so do it!)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tsp EACH ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon EACH garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon EACH ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, pepper
GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp EACH ground cumin, ground coriander, pepper
WRAPS and PLATES (pick your favs)
Lebanese bread/flatbread/pita bread warmed
finely sliced Romaine or iceberg lettuce
cherry tomatoes, halved or Roma tomatoes, sliced and quartered
English cucumber sliced and quartered
red onion thinly sliced quartered
chili sauce I use sriracha
Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chicken halves and stir to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate 8-24 hours.
GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE
Whisk the Garlic Yogurt Sauce ingredient together in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to serve. The sauce can be made at the time you start marinating the chicken or aim for at least an hour before cooking the chicken.
Using 2 skewers for each kebab, thread one side of the thigh onto each skewer and then the other side; slide the skewered chicken down to the end (see photos). Repeat with half the chicken, pushing the chicken against each other. Repeat to make a second kabob with the remaining chicken.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean grates and generously grease with oil. Once hot, add kebabs, and grill for 4-5 minutes without moving. Flip kebabs over and grill the other side an addition 4-5 minutes.
Next, flip chicken over, COVER and reduce heat so it maintains 400 degrees F with the lid closed. Continue to cook, approximately 5-10 additional minutes per side turning once, until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, add flatbread to the grill to warm up.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a pan with foil that allows you to perch the metal skewers on the top rim of the pan so the chicken hangs in the middle without touching the bottom of the pan (see photos).
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, then flip kebabs over. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken and bake an addition 15- 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Optional: Without moving the pan, turn oven to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes per side for more yummy crispy bits. Baste again with pan juices. Let rest 5-10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, wrap the desired amount of flatbread in foil and place in the oven. Heat for 8-10 minutes or until warm and pliable. Remove from the oven using oven mitts.
Stand the skewers upright on a cutting board and thinly slice chicken off. (see video)
DONER KEBAB WRAPS
Spread a generous amount of hummus over warmed flatbread. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, chicken, and garlic yogurt sauce. Drizzle with sriracha if you like some heat - careful, a little goes a long way.
DONER KEBAB PLATES
Serve chicken on a plate with desired accompaniments such as warmed flatbread, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and sides of garlic yogurt sauce, sriracha and hummus.