Rustic Iranian Kebab Koobideh Recipe

A hot, sizzling Iranian kebab koobideh recipe straight off the grill is meal the whole family will enjoy, and a good way to introduce people to how delicious goat can be if they haven’t eaten it before, although beef and lamb meat are also used.

We have another recipe for lamb kebabs here where Chef Spangler walks you through grinding your own meat with special ingredients for a fun weekend project, but, if you’re in a pinch, this kebab (also known as koobideh) can be thrown together in just a few minutes using a stand mixer, or just your hands if need be.

iranian kebab koobideh on a wood skewer plated with fresh vegetable side dishes.
Serve the finished kebobs with fresh vegetables and cool salads. It’s perfect for summertime grilling.

Why This Recipe Works

Chef Bergo’s version of goat kabob koobideh are rustic and traditional–inspired by the great kebabs that can be found served around the Twin Cities metro area in restaurants founded by Middle Eastern natives. After speaking with chef friends who work at a local Middle Eastern Restaurant, he decided on less spices as opposed to more, along with the inclusion of sumac and tumeric, and baking soda.

It might sound odd to put a leavening agent in a sausage, but it’s actually very common, and serves the dual purpose of tenderizing the meat a bit, and giving it a bit of lift. Besides Middle-Eastern cuisine, baking soda is also used in Asian and Chinese cuisine for the same benefits–often with sliced meat that will be stir-fried.

One of the most important things is properly kneading the meat. Koobideh actually translates to kneading, pounding or smashing in Farsi, and if the meat isn’t properly mixed together, it won’t form a cohesive mass when it’s being formed around the skewers.

Resting the meat is also important. Even an hour or two can make a big difference here. When meat is exposed to salt, it activates the myosin which helps bind the meat together and make it sticky. If you can plan ahead and make the meat mixture the day before, it will be easier to form and have a better flavor.

Ground goat meat on a piece of parchment paper.
Ground goat is versatile, and an easy way to sneak some delicious goat meat into your diet.

The recipe is just for simple hand-formed goat kebabs. The garnishes are up to you. Chef Bergo favors a rustic presentation, and likes carving skewers from oak trees, although any skewer will do.

What to Serve with Kebab Koobideh

The garnishes pictured are marinated feta with fresh mint and olive oil, a light salad of nasturtiums and hosta flowers, fresh sliced cucumbers, and cracked marinated olives. Chef suggests serving them with whatever you have available that sounds good to you. Persian rice and grilled tomatoes are traditional, but the kebabs will taste good with just about anything.

Since you’ll ideally be cooking the kebobs over a charcoal fire, you can grill vegetables like green peppers, spring onions or other vegetables at the same time. It’s a great excuse to visit your local Middle Eastern grocer and buy some cold vegetable salads to try and sample with family or friends.

Chef Alan Bergo

Get Cooking

This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

A close up image of a browned, grilled kebob on a plate next to fresh greens, olives, feta cheese and cooked quinoa.

More Ground Lamb Recipes

Braised Spicy Lamb Meatballs 

Lamb Meatballs Stuffed with Goat Cheese 

Lamb Meatball Soup

Grass fed goat kebobs or koobideh
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Rustic Iranian Kebab Koobideh Recipe with Lamb

Yield: About 10 three ounce skewers or kebobs
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Resting Time (optional)12 hours
Total Time12 hours 23 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Goat, Kebab, Koobideh, Lamb
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Cost: 10


  • 1 Stand mixer or food processor
  • 10 Skewers or thing carved branches



  • 6 grams 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sumac plus more for garnishing (optional)
  • 1 small yellow onion grated, drained of juice or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground toasted cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • Combine all ingredients including the grated onion in a stand mixer and work with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes or until the ground meat mixture looks tacky and forms a mass. Alternately, you can knead the mixture or blend in a food processor. Chill the meat mixture.
  • Remove the koobideh meat mixture and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours before forming on a metal skewer. Wet your hands to help form the meat and help it not fall off the skewer. If using wood skewers, soak them in cold water for an hour before wrapping the meat around them.
  • Be patient when forming the skewers. If the meat won't stick together, keep re-forming it until it sticks to the skewer.
  • Divide the meat into 10 even-sized balls, then form into sausage shapes and wrap around a skewer or kebob.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill.
  • Grill the kabab, roast, or pan fry over high heat, preferably until medium, then serve with Persian rice or your favorite seasonal vegetables like grilled tomatoes or fresh salads. If desired, you can use your thumb and index finger to remove the meat from the skewer.


The meat will hold together much better if allowed to rest ovenight.


Serving: 1kebab | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.1g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 0.004g | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg