Sumac Ground Lamb Kebabs


  • 1 pound ground lamb small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin, divided
  • 1 1/2 t ground sumac, divided
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For serving the Kebabs on:

  • Pita bread (or naan bread)
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Chopped red onion
  • Fresh parsley
  • Grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Chopped cucumber 



  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, minced onion and garlic, 1 teaspoon each of the ground cumin and sumac, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and ice water.
  2. Knead the mixture by hand until it turns tacky and starts sticking to the side of the bowl then place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill.
  3. Wet your hands and place a quarter of the lamb mixture onto each skewer. One easy method is to use a 1-ounce scoop to form balls, thread a few onto each skewer, and then mash them together to form the kebab shape.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and sumac.
  6. Grill the kebabs for approximately 12 minutes, until well charred on both sides. Sprinkle the spice mix over the kebabs while they are cooking.
  7. If desired, serve the kebabs nestled in lettuce leaves with sliced red onion, parsley, tomatoes, and chopped cucumbers along with warm pita or naan bread. Enjoy.


  • Forming the meat into balls first and then threading them onto the skewer can make the task of placing the meat on the skewers easier. Once threaded, you can use your fingers to press them together, making sure they are adhering well to the skewer.
  • You can freeze any leftover mixture or kebabs for up to three months. The mixture should be placed in an airtight container; the skewers can be placed on a baking sheet, covered tightly, and then frozen. Do not place the skewers in a plastic freezer bag as they may puncture the bag and create holes. Defrost the meat mixture and skewered kebabs overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.