Summer Barbecue Idea: Greco-Persian Grill

Of all my ideas for a barbecue party, this one is the most nostalgic. Skewered grills, or “Kabab” as we call it in Persian, is very popular all over the world now. But we don’t own the copyright. In fact some of the best skewers I’ve ever had were in Greece, where they call it “Souvlaki”. Basically it is the same thing, different names.

There are also a few differences: Iranians don’t eat pork, so the pork version is definitely Greek! And wherever you see saffron used, call it Persian 😀

One weekend we decided to go half way; after all, Persians and Greeks are probably very much related after Alexander’s conquest of Persia. So here was our tribute to a cultural exchange 🙂

TARGET: Barbecue for 6-8 people

PLAN: Keep it simple.

STRATEGY: Choose two types of meat and two sides, plus two types of flatbread.

  • MEAT: We chose chicken breast & pork fillet. Cut them into bite chunks, marinated them overnight and skewered them just before grilling. Could use bell pepper chunks between the meat chunks (see picture).
  • Chicken marinade: onion rings, yogurt, ground saffron (diluted in some hot water and left to infuse) , salt & pepper, preserved lemons.
  • Pork marinade: smoked paprika, mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper.

Barbecue over charcoal which no longer has flames, they’re just hot. You’ve got to be patient with the fire, take your time and use a fan/piece of cardboard to blow the fire.


  • SIDE DISHES: Shirazi Salad & Mast-o-Khiar/tzatziki.
  • FLATBREADS: half white, half dark/rye. It’s good to give people options! 2 per person should be enough.

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