Grilled Kibbeh

Kibbe refers to a variety of “meat balls” from Syria and the Middle East. Fine bulgur is the main ingredient for kibbeh, and it is mixed in different proportions with spices and raw meat of sheep or calf “habra” (Habra: Lean red meat). And that are either fried, baked, stewed, BBQ’d or eaten raw. There are many different ways of preparing and cooking Kibbe and there is a vegetarian Kibbe variety as well which are made from chickpeas or squash. Syrian villages boast dozens of different Kibbe recipes.

Almost any feast or any joyous occasion that enters any Syrian household does not overlook grilled kibbeh. It is prepared in Syria on religious holidays, whether Christian or Muslim, and when a family member travels, their bag must contain several pieces. When two families get to know each other and on the occasion of engagement or marriage, a large feast is prepared in which the origins of the two families are called and this tabletop has kibbeh of all kinds. Grilled kibbeh has become an important demand for Syrian expatriates, who are looking for its ingredients or somewhere to make it wherever they are.

Grilled kibbeh is a well-known dish in all Syrian regions and every region has worked to add special flavors to it according to the nature of the gourmet of the meal.

The preparation of the luxurious grilled kibbeh is a delicate process and requires teamwork for excellence and perhaps the preparation and making process creates very beautiful family ties.



• 1 lb of lean ground goat meat (or lean beef thigh meat)

• 1.5 cups of thin light + dark mixed Burghul *

• 1 medium size red onion

• 1/4 bunch of green mint (leaves only)

• 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

• 1/2 tablespoon salt

• 1/2 tablespoon of seven spices

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper


* Burghul is cracked wheat and it can be thin or thick. The type we need for this recipe is the “thin” kind and that is a mix of dark and light cracked wheat. This can be found at Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Prepare for meat stuffing:.

750 g  minced meat.

250 g cold fat.

4 medium sized onions.

1 teaspoon of seven spices.

1 pinch of red hot pepper.

1 teaspoon of salt.

2 of table spoons oil or ghee.

1 of little freshly chopped basil leaves.

10 of fresh basil leaves




-Kibbe Dough Preparation: Add all ingredients to the food processor except for the Burghul. Run on high speed for about 5-7 minutes until everything is well blended together and the meat turns doughy and sticky. Rinse the Burghul and dry it well with a paper towel then add to a bowl where you mix and knead it well with the Kibbe paste from the food processor. Take the resulting dough back into the food processor for 3-5 mins of high speed grinding. Your Kibbe dough is ready for molding.

Kibbe Stuffing Preparation: Cut the fat into small chunks, add to the food processor along with all other stuffing ingredients and grind at high speed for about 7-10 minutes. You will get a better texture if the fat is grounded while still frozen. You now have the stuffing ready.

Molding and Cupping the Kibbe: you could split the Kibbe dough into small rolls/balls a bit larger than a golf ball. Then use a shallow spice bowl (about 6-8 ounces in size) or equivalent to mold the Kibbe.

1. Make sure that your hands are wet with water when you’re molding the Kibbe so it doesn’t stick

2. Wet a plastic sheet (cellophane) with water and flatten a chunk of Kibbe dough on it into a 1/3 inch patty

3. Add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of stuffing in the middle of the patty

4. Place another wet sheet of plastic in the spice bowl, take another chunk of Kibbe dough and spread it evenly inside that bowl and press it against its insides with a 1/3 inch thickness

5. Place Kibbeh mold on top of the flattened kibbeh patty and press downward until you cut through

6. Slowly pull plastic sheet outwardly then Lift it up from the spice bowl

7. Gently turn over Kibbeh “head” away from the other plastic sheet and place on a lightly oiled aluminum foil or plate. Your Kibbeh “head” is now ready to be cooked.

Brush grill with a bit of olive oil and place Kibbeh heads, over low heat, for 25 minutes then turn over for another 15 mins. A well-cooked Kibbe head will have its stuffing all melted. You could also bake the Kibbeh at 370 degrees in the oven for about 35-40 minutes as well.

Grilled Kibbe can be served hot with Syrian garlic paste, or with Syrian salad and for sure with Syrian pomegranate molasses.


Lara Khouli