Juicy on the inside and perfectly caramelised and smoky on the outside Greek beef souvlaki skewers! All you need to take your Beef kabobs to the next level is a simple yet full of Mediterranean flavours marinade. And I have just the perfect one for you!
What is beef Shish kebabs (or kabobs), Kofta kebab and souvlaki (skewers)?
Souvlaki is one of the most popular street food dishes in Greece, served in every taverna and for good reason! There are three ways you can have your skewered meat, but whatever you call them they are always delicious!
Shish Kebabs (also kabobs) is a Middle Eastern dish where pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables are grilled on a skewer or spit originating in the Middle East and later adopted in Greek cuisine.
While shish kabobs are made with chunks of meat, the second way, kofta kabobs, are made with minced meat formed into oblong shaped meatballs and threaded on a skewer.
Finally in Greece kabobs are called “souvlaki” or “skewers” (kalamaki) which means any type of diced meat threaded on a skewer. They are one of the brightest examples of the influence of the Turkish cuisine in many popular Greek dishes.
Greek Marinade for Beef skewers souvlaki (Beef kabobs)
If you’re making your Beef skewers (Kabobs) without marinading them first you must start doing so! Marinading the kabobs helps tenderise the meat and infuses all the flavours deep inside it.
The marinade I use for these Beef souvlaki skewers (kabobs) is full of Greek flavours. Extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano are combined perfectly with honey, hot paprika, ground black and pink pepper. Pink pepper can be a bit tricky to source on its own, but most supermarkets have black and pink peppercorn mixes for you to buy!
What I love the most about this marinade is the combination of freshness from the thyme and lemon zest together with the spice of the mixed ground peppercorns and hot paprika. Moreover, the acidity of the lemon juice is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of honey. This acidity also helps tenderise the meat. Lemon juice will penetrate the beef giving that extra juiciness you’re looking for.
Finally the honey will give that incredible caramelisation on the outside of the Beef Kabobs, but be careful to use it in moderation. Adding too much honey in the marinade will give your kabobs an almost burnt exterior before the inside of the kabob is cooked through.
Tip: I strongly recommend that you marinade the beef overnight, but if you don’t have the time, then marinade for at least one hour in the fridge.
What cuts of beef work best for Beef souvlaki skewers (Kabobs) ?
A lot of readers ask me about choosing the right kind of cuts to make beef souvlaki. The answer is quite simple. One of the best options would be fillet mignon, as it is really tender. Ribeye and porterhouse are also great cuts for beef skewers. These cuts of beef won’t even require marinating overnight. Thirty minutes will be enough to soak up all the wonderful flavours.
But the truth is that souvlaki is more of an everyday street food, so personally I prefer to keep that filet for more special occasions as it is a little pricy. My choice would be top sirloin chunks.
Ask your butcher to cut the beef to save you some time and effort. Don’t forget to cut the beef against the grain in order for your cooked meat to be tender and not chewy. Finally cut the beef in 3-4 cm (1.5 inch) equal cubes. This will help the kabobs cook throughout without burning on the outside.
Tips for the best Greek Beef Souvlaki Skewers (Beef Kabobs)
- First of all, marinade the meat to help tenderise and soak up all the wonderful flavours. Marinade overnight if possible.
- When threading the beef kabobs it is important not to smush everything tightly together. Thread the pieces of beef and veggies loosely so that everything can cook more evenly. If you thread them tightly, the veggies will remain raw in the middle.
- Cut the veggies approximately the same size as the beef to help them caramelise and cook through. Drizzle them with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Use wooden skewers to thread the pieces of beef. Soak the skewers in water before threading to avoid burning them on the edges. Make sure the skewers you use fit your griddle pan. If your pieces of beef are quite big, then you could thread each kabob with 2 skewers. This will help you handle them a bit easier.
- To the beef souvlaki skewers, the best option is to grill them on a char-coal barbecue. This will make them all crispy and smokey. However, if barbecue season hasn’t arrived yet, they will also cook great on a griddle pan.
How to serve Greek beef skewers (kabobs)
My personal favourite is to enjoy the beef kabobs with some extra garlicky tzatziki sauce, pita breads and a nice refreshing Greek feta salad. For a hearty meal you can serve with Greek fries or basmati rice.Buying the original Greek pita breads can be quite challenging if you don’t live in Greece. If you are lucky to live near a Greek deli give them a try. However nothing compares to homemade, so you can also make your own homemade pita bread with this super easy recipe.
Another delicious way to serve this Beef kebab recipe is with roast peppers and tomatoes and a full spoon of yogurt seasoned with a pinch of paprika, salt, pepper and lemon zest. All you have to to do is grill the peppers and tomatoes on the same gridle pan over high heat to get them coloured and softened.
Love souvlaki? These delicious recipes are for you!
If you love Greek souvlaki as much as I do then these recipes are made for you! Give them a try and let me know what you think!
- Marinated Greek Lamb Souvlaki recipe (Skewers) with Pita and Tzatziki
- Pork Souvlaki (Skewers) with Tzatziki Sauce
- Homemade Greek Pork Gyros Souvlaki recipe
- Homemade Greek Chicken Gyro recipe
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki recipe (Skewers) with Tzatziki
- Vegetable Skewers (Souvlaki) with Halloumi and Pita Bread
- Spicy minced Lamb Kofta Kebab Recipe (Giaourtlou)
- Easy Beef Gyro recipe wrapped in Pita Bread
Juicy, caramelised and smoky Greek beef souvlaki skewers recipe! Take your Beef kabobs to the next level with this simple flavourful marinade.
For the Beef Souvlaki & marinade
- 1 kg top sirloin beef cut in chunks (35 oz.)
- 2 tsps mustard
- 1–2 tsps honey
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp hot paprika
- 6 tbsps olive oil
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black and pink peppercorns (to taste)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsps fresh thyme
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
For assembling the beef skewers
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 9–10 wooden skewers
- To prepare this Greek beef souvlaki recipe, cut the beef into equal sized (3 cm/1 inch) cubes and set aside.
- Prepare the marinade for the beef kabobs. In a large bowl add all the ingredients for the marinade and the meat and blend to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let them marinade for at least 1 hour in the fridge. Preferably leave them to marinade overnight so they soak up even more all those wonderful flavours.
- When you are ready to cook the kabobs, prepare the vegetables. Cut the peppers and onion into 3-3.5 cm equal wide squares. Place them in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and ground pepper.
- For this Beef souvlaki recipe, you will need about 9-10 wooden skewers, depending on how big you want them to be. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent them from burning. And make sure to cut the tip so it fits your grill pan!
- Thread the chunks of beef comfortably, on the skewers. Use 1 piece of pepper and 1 piece of onion between each piece of meat.
- Brush the kabobs lightly with the remaining marinade and drizzle with olive oil.
- Heat a large grill pan over high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and cook the kabobs in batches for about 8 minutes. 2 minutes on each side until nicely coloured and cooked through. (Baste with olive oil as you go.)
- Place the beef skewers on a plate, cover with foil and let them rest for 3-4 minutes before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 skewer
- Calories: 260kcal
- Sugar: 2.9g
- Sodium: 614mg
- Fat: 15g
- Saturated Fat: 3.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fiber: 1.1g
- Protein: 25.4g
- Cholesterol: 65.7mg
Keywords: beef kabobs recipe, greek beef skewers, marinated beef kebabs, beef souvlaki, greek marinade for beef souvlaki