Venison Adana Kebab

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When they hear kebab, most people think skewered meat and veggies. Some might picture rotating spits for döner kebab. While both dishes fall under the umbrella of “kebab”, this family of foods has a huge number of variations and you would be hard pressed to find more than in Turkey. Each region puts a unique twist on its food based on local staples and ingredients. This version, though named for Adana Province in the southeast on the Syrian border, is extremely popular nationwide and can be found on the menu of most restaurants. It is a dish that I used to recommend to newly arrived coworkers as a culinary introduction you cannot go wrong with. This take on a classic utilizes ground venison shoulder with traditional ingredients for a filling yet refreshing meal. The execution, presentation, and flavors are sure to please.  

Serving Size    Time To Make

           2                   2-3 hours

Special Equipment 

Skewers

Alternate Cuts That Work

Turkish kebab is most often done with sheep or maybe goat. Any red meat will do. Pronghorn, with its natural sage flavor, should do wonderfully.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground venison

  • 1 large onion

  • Fresh parsley 

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 medium tomato

  • 2-4 green peppers (Large fingerhots work well as do Hungarian wax)

  • Pita bread

  • Salt, pepper, cumin

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Preperation

  1. Finely dice half of the onion and chop a few parsley leaves. Be sure to set aside some whole parsley for garnish. Knead the diced onion, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and cumin into the meat. Adjust amounts according to taste. I prefer a fair amount of onion and parsley to the point there is no mistaking it.
  2. Chill the meat for 2-3 hours. You want the it to be as cold as possible so that it sticks to the skewers well.
  3. You can also put metal skewers in the freezer and double them up for a better hold. Alternatively, you can skip the skewering and make oblong meatballs (kofte). This will also cut down on prep time if you are in a hurry.
  4. Slice the remaining onion into long, thin slices. Chop up some more parsley and finely dice or mince the garlic. Toss these together in a bowl. A small amount of olive oil may be used in this step. 
  5. Set up your grill to a medium to medium-high temperature. Take the meat and skewers out. Using egg-sized hunks, start molding the meat onto the skewers. Work quickly and be careful not to work the meat too long or put too much on the skewer. Otherwise, you run the risk of the skewer tearing out. Do this until most of the skewer is covered in meat. 
  6. Place the meat skewers on the grill. Cut the tomato into fourths and place the quarters on the grill along with the whole peppers. Remove after both sides of the meat are done and veggies are grilled to your liking. At this point, you may warm the pita directly on the grill if you so choose.
  7. Plate by laying the pita down and sliding the meat on top. Add the sliced onion mix, pepper, and tomato on the sides and garnish with whole parsley leaves.
  8. Serve as is or with a side of plain yogurt, tzatziki (cacık in Turkish), or bulghur rice. 

A note on Kebab

The possibilities for kebabs are endless. Try utilizing what is on hand but remember it is best to use fresh ingredients with most Mediterranean and Turkish cooking. I also did not add fat to this grind. I don’t normally add fat if I am using the grind for burgers, taco, pasta, etc. 

Alternate Cuts That Work

Turkish kebab is most often done with sheep or maybe goat. Any red meat will do. Pronghorn, with its natural sage flavor, should do wonderfully.

Chase Waller

Chase Waller is a Mississippi-born outdoorsman with a passion for hunting, culture, and food. After joining the Air Force in 2011, he has hunted, fished, hiked, and camped across the globe. Currently residing in Riverview, FL with his wife and son, Chase spends his time exploring public lands, looking for new adventures, and tinkering with recipes. He is also an active member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

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