BBQ Lamb Skewers


Here in Adelaide we’re having something of a ‘hot’ week … today we hit 44.2°C and I spent the morning at a local pool wearing out my small child. It appears to have worked, as he then slept for over a couple of hours, which is the most sensible activity for pretty much anyone at the moment!

It’s actually too hot to contemplate barbecuing (we tried last night and Andy melted into a little puddle …) but by the time Saturday rolls around, this weather will be a distant memory and summer will be back on an even keel with temperatures in the high twenties/low thirties and that is perfect BBQ weather.

I have had this recipe tagged for ages – but wasn’t able to make it because we’ve had something of a time tracking down szechuan pepper. Andy sourced me some for Christmas so you can now expect to see szechuan pepper in almost everything.

The original recipe calls these Xinjiang skewers. On reading the recipe, I thought it sounded remarkably Uyghur like (yes, my whole one Uyghur restaurant experience qualified me to have that thought!) and it turns out that Xinjiang (or, more formally, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) is the province in China in which most Uyghur live.

There you go – recipes and a bit of geography/politics to boot!

Tone down (or dial up) the chilli or szechuan pepper to suit. We found that the quantities given worked well (and weren’t so spicy that our toddler couldn’t make a fair first of things either). And, of course, you can always substitute chicken (or other BBQ friendly meat) for the lamb.

The marinade has the bonus of being extremely quick and easy to make and versatile. It is also great to make ahead to take to BBQs – beats supermarket snags with almost no effort!

We’ve given this recipe a couple of outings already. The first time we made it, we had no skewers (long story) so there was no point in photographing it. It would have been ‘lamb on a plate’. For that – see my interpretation (via Elizabeth David) of the Greek arni souvlaki.

Don’t want to print? Download the lamb skewers recipe as a pdf!

BBQ Lamb Skewers


  • 1 kg lamb shoulder, cut into large bite sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper (as freshly ground as possible)
  • 1 tsp ground szechuan pepper
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • salt to taste


  1. Combine all the ingredients (bar the lamb) to make a marinade, and then mix the lamb through with your hands, ensuring that it's evenly coated with the marinade.
  2. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for as long as possible - preferably overnight but if you're in a real hurry, half an hour will do.
  3. Heat a grill or BBQ and thread the cubes of lamb onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them for at least an hour before using so that they don't splinter and don't catch on fire!
  4. Cook the skewers, turning frequently, until the lamb is done to your liking.
  5. Serve with plenty of salad.

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