Israeli Kebab: A Must-Have for any Israeli BBQ

It’s Yom Ha’atzmaut time and that means we’re getting ready for BBQ season, or as we like to call it here in Israel “al ha-esh” (literally meaning “on the fire”). Just walk outside on Yom Ha’atzmaut and you’ll feel (and smell!) the atmosphere of celebration. After all, it’s nothing short of a miracle that we have our own country and we never take that fact for granted.


In general, kebab is known throughout the world as various types of meat cooked on a skewer. Stemming originally from the Middle East, today there is a wide range of types of kebab that you can try including beef, goat, fish, chicken, veggies, etc.


The secret to amazing Israeli kebab

When we say “kebab” we’re referring to totally authentic Israeli ground (red) meat kebab. It’s made either on a skewer or as patties and can be found and almost any Israeli “al ha-esh” restaurant or at any Israeli BBQ.


There are a few things that make Israeli kebab so great:


  1. The use of lamb fat! We know, this might sound a bit strange but Israelis load their kebab with a good chunk of lamb fat. You should be adding approximately 3 oz. of fat for every 1 lb. of meat. If you don’t have access to lamb fat itself, ask your butcher for ground meat that is high in fat content. This is critical to make the kebabs taste amazing.
  2. Spices – Our favorite spice to add to kebab is “Ras El Hanut” (included in the Shalom Box here). This spice includes allspice, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, fennel seeds, and more. It adds a special kick to kebab, making it distinctly Israeli/Middle Eastern.
  3. Pita bread – One of the most common ways to eat kebab is in a pita pocket. Fill it up with your favorite toppings including salad, tehina, etc. for the ultimate meal.
  4. Tehina on the side – No kebab is complete without tehina. Whether you’re eating your kebab in a pita or on a plate, you must add your favorite tehina to make your kebab meal complete.


Israelis love to eat kebab everywhere, from their home BBQ, to restaurants, stands on the street, and more. Today, it’s become one of the most common meat dishes to eat on the go or at a party between friends and family on Yom Ha’atzmaut or other happy occasions. You can think of it as the Middle Eastern twist on hamburgers 🙂


While you’re getting your table ready, here are a list of things that you should always make sure to have on your Israeli BBQ table:

  1. Israeli salad – finely chopped cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and some salt
  2. Hummus and tehina
  3. Other salads of your choosing
  4. Pita bread
  5. Roasted veggies and a wide variety of meats on the grill!


So, how do you make true Israeli kebab? We’ve put together our favorite (and most successful!) recipe.

Sagi’s legendary Israeli kebab


1 lb. ground meat (with A LOT of fat- approximately 3 oz. for 1 lb. of meat)/ if meat is lean add 3 tbsp. olive oil

1 ½  tsp. Ras El Hanut spice

Parsley chopped finely

1 ½  tsp. Salt

½  tsp. Ground black pepper

2 oz. pine nuts

½ small onion chopped finely


  1. Combine well and mix with hands until all ingredients are blended together
  2. Using wet hands, create round balls and put in the fridge for an hour (another option is to put the raw meat onto skewers)
  3. Cook on a hot pan or on a grill. Turn over as soon as one side turns brown.
  4. Enjoy in a pita or on your plate as a part of your BBQ!

Tip: Make one and taste, then correct the flavoring accordingly

Creating Israeli kebab is the perfect way to make your summer BBQs a bit more Israeli. We recommend also getting some Israeli beer or wine to add another special touch to the atmosphere. As we say here in Israel – Beteavon!

Want to host like an Israeli this Yom Ha’atzmaut? Here are some relevant articles on our blog: