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Turkish-Style Beef Köfte Kebab Recipe

Turkish-Style Beef Köfte Kebab Recipe
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This Turkish-style beef köfte kebab recipe is a simple grilled dish to pull together for a hot summer afternoon meal. Easy to make up, quick to grill, and with a satisfying a delectable flavor, it will soon become a favorite. Köfte are meatball recipes found in many middle eastern and eastern European cuisines. From kafta to kofte to köfte, many of these recipes are simple everyday dishes to cook up at home.

Quality Ingredients

Having the right beef is the key to making quality beef recipes. One of my favorite farmers and sources for grass-fed and pastured beef in California is J and J grass fed beef. They are a family-run operation that delivers to your door in Southern California. If you are considering trying grass-fed, pastured beef, but are unsure where to start, and often overwhelmed when purchasing at the grocery store, ordering from them is a good place to start. Mention A Good Carrot or my name, Aliye, when signing up for deliveries, so they can know that you heard about them through me. I am so passionate about supporting our local small farms and ranchers, and having them deliver is an incredibly easy way to do it.

Recipe Variations

Turkey is a large country, and Turkish cuisine incredibly diverse. When I surveyed my family members about their favorite köfte recipes, I got several more variations than I expected! I took a few weeks, played with the recipes, and realized what my own favorite spice combination is, which I’m sharing with you below (okay, I couldn’t choose! I’ve shared my two favorite). Serve them with a side of plain yogurt, a couple of side veggie dishes, and you have a filling and refreshing meal. I am also partial to Turkish red pepper, which is called Aleppo pepper stateside, and although not absolutely necessary, it is a quintessential Turkish ingredient, which is not very spicy, a little bit smoky, and probably different than anything you currently have in your pantry. I bring it back from Turkey by the kilo when I go, but you can pick some Aleppo Pepper up here.

Köfte Technique

It is not necessary to use skewers in this recipe, although they do add to the ambiance of the dish. The meat mixture can be squeezed onto wide metal skewers, or formed into oblong meatballs, as stated in the recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Try serving them up with this Turkish-style Braised Green Beans recipe, and the Parsley and Onion Salad found here.

5 from 2 votes
Turkish style beef kofte kebab
Turkish Style Beef Kofte Kebab
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This Turkish-style beef köfte kebab recipe is a simple grilled dish to pull together for a hot summer afternoon meal.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Turkish
Servings: 4
Calories: 140 kcal
  • ½ onion
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 4 grinds
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper*, or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon sumac**
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper*, or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • To serve:
  • 1 large tomato, cut into quarters
  • 1 large onion, cut into quarters
  • 6-7 shishito peppers, or long-style Italian (non-spicy) peppers for grilling
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Grate onion on a box grater or in a food processor. Press through a strainer and squeeze with your hands to get out as much liquid as possible. Discard onion water, or use for this recipe.
  2. Put squeezed onion pulp in a bowl with beef, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and your choice of spice mix.
  3. Using your hands, mix all ingredients together well, squeezing mixture to help break beef into smaller pieces.
  4. Prepare a charcoal grill. Alternatively, and a little later, heat a griddle or large pan over medium high heat. If cooking in a pan or on a griddle, add a small amount of olive oil before cooking kebabs.
  5. There are two options for forming the beef. If you have thick metal skewers, squeeze about 1/5th of the mixture onto each skewer, using your hands, and flattening as you go. Sometimes this method doesn’t work, and the meat just won’t stick to the skewer. If this is the case, or you don’t have wide metal skewers, form the meat into oval shapes that are about 3 inches long by 1 ½ inches wide. These will grill up just fine. Grill over medium-high heat, getting nice grill marks, for 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Grill up some tomato, onion, and peppers while cooking the meat. They will add a nice aroma.
  7. Serve everything up on a platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley and Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, if using.
Recipe Notes
*If you don’t have Aleppo pepper, you can use crushed red pepper flakes. However, be mindful about the amount of spice, as Aleppo pepper tends to be less spicy than crushed red pepper flakes. **If you don’t have any sumac on hand, try using ½ teaspoon lemon zest in its place.

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