Chicken kababs

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Chicken kababs. I absolutely love this delicious Mediterranean inspired meal! Tender chicken thighs, coated in olive oil, herbs and a touch of chilli! These really are amazing!

The chicken kabab is as old as you can get when it comes to cooking. Evidence of cooking meat over an open flame predates the last ice age! Thats over 10,000 years ago! There is evidence that come all corners of the globe that this was how our early ancestors cooked food. It is this primitive method of cooking that has inspired the modern-day kabab.

The modern-day kabab was first recorded around 3000 years ago in the middle eastern country once called Persia. Soldiers, mercenaries, and pilgrims would cook meat dressed in herbs and spices from animals that they caught. They would skewer the meat onto their swords and then place the sword into the open flame of a campfire.

This method became very popular in Turkey, and all sorts of recipes came about, sliced or cubed meat place onto a skewer. Whole shellfish were also used as was mincing and shaping meat before cooking this way.

There are many different varieties of kababs with flavours and seasoning being different in different countries. The recipe below is a Turkish chicken kabab and the ingredients are classed as traditional. This was kindly given to me by a Turkish man that I worked with.

Chicken kabab recipe

This chicken kabab recipe is really easy to prepare and makes excellent bbq food. It really shines when you serve this with a tzatziki dip and pita bread with a bowl of greek salad on the side. For me I feel it brings back a certain amount of nostalgia, taking me back to sunny holiday in the mediterranean. Good Times! This is also one of the things that I love about cooking, a good meal can whisk you away to another place or time.

ingredients for Chicken kababs

For this dish, you will need the following ingredients;

  • 8 Chicken thighs
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • A small bunch of fresh oregano
  • A small bunch of fresh thyme leaves
  • One teaspoon of crushed dried chilies
  • Pinch of hickory wood chips (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


The first thing that you want to do to make your chicken kababs is to prepare your chicken thighs. Skin and debone them and Cut these up in 9 pieces. You can ask your butcher to do this for you. Place the chopped chicken thigh into a large glass dish.

smoking chicken

(optional step) Cover the glass dish with cling film. lift the cling film up in one corner and place the nozzle of the smoke gun inside the dish. Close the cling film around it. Add the Hickory chips to the cold smoke gun and light, fill the cling film covered dish up with cold smoke. 

Once it is full of hickory smoke, blow out the embers and turn off the cold smoke gun. Allow the chicken to infuse with the hickory smoke. (catch the video below to see how to do his step by step!)

olive oil

Next, we need to make the marinade for the chicken kababs. So in a separate bowl add your olive.


Chop up your thyme leaves and the oregano up. Add these to your olive oil along with your crushed chilli, salt and pepper. 

marinding chicken

Cover your chicken with the marinade and mix well. Allow to to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour but ideally overnight. (If you doing the optional step of smoking the chicken, wait until all of the smoke has disappeared before adding your marinade.)

chicken kabab

Once you have allowed your chicken to marinade, remove the thighs from the fridge. It’s now time to make your chicken kababs! Take a skewer and push the chicken thigh onto the skewer piece by piece until your skewer is full.

chicken kabab skwers

I make 4 large skewers but feel free to make smaller ones! I also use metal skewers as these don’t burn, but if you are using wooden ones a handy hint is to soak these in warm water for 30 minutes. (This way they won’t burn!)

Now, all that is left to do is to cook them! You can do this in the traditional way, over an open flame! (I make my fajitas in the same way!)

cooking chicken kabab

I use a blow torch and a hot stone in the video below  but like I mentioned earlier, these will be amazing on a bbq! You can also cook them in an oven but for areal authentic flavour cook them over open flame!

Make sure you serve these with some soft pita bread, tzatziki dip and a bowl of freshly made greek salad for a real taste of the Mediterranean!

I really hope that you enjoy this recipe, let me in the comments box below what your thoughts on this are! 

You can catch the how-to video below!
Play Video

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