[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

A marriage of Middle Eastern and Chinese impact, these earthy, spicy, and pungent lamb skewers provide such a special flavor that they seem persistently exciting.

Read more: Grilling: Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers

  • Yield: serves 4 to 6
  • Active time:
    30 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Ranked:



  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons newly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and newly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, trimmed of excess fat and gristle
  • Wooden skewers, taken in water for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to use
  • Type of fire: Direct
  • Grill heat: medium-high


  1. 1.

    Place cumin seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast up until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons of the toasted cumin seeds to a spice grinder and grind into a great powder.

  2. 2.

    Transfer ground cumin to a small bowl and whisk in remaining cumin seeds, oil, soy sauce, sherry, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. 3.

    Place lamb in a large resealable plastic bag.

  4. 4.

    Thread lamb onto skewers.

  5. 5.

    Light one chimney filled with charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, put out and spread the coals equally over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in location, cover grill and enable to preheat for 5 minutes. Tidy and oil the barbecuing grate. Grill skewers till browned on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve right away.

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