Growing up in a traditional Lebanese home, charcoal barbecues were my dad’s favourite. He would find any opportunity or excuse to light up that fire! Many of my cherished childhood memories actually involve a barbecue.
And what kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t continue this family tradition?
Today, barbecuing still holds a special place in my home – it’s how we love to entertain our guests and bring people together. My husband is often in charge of cooking the meat at a barbecue while I prepare the starters, salads and side dishes that complement those meat dishes.
Our barbecues usually end up looking like some proper feasts but one would be surprised to know that all the recipes we use are very simple and easy to make – the spices and the herbs do all the magic really.
Want to add a Middle Eastern twist to your next barbecue party? Here are 15+ delicious recipes that will leave your guests in awe:
1. Lamb Cutlets
Cook these cutlets medium-rare, drizzle them with herb salsa, and enjoy an explosion of flavour with every bite.
Take your barbecue to the next level with this savoury lamb back-strap marinade.
Nothing says barbecue like these crispy chicken wings. Pair them with a garlic dip or one of the creamy dips mentioned below.
4. Chicken Chops
The secret behind tender chicken chops lies in the barbecue technique you use.
Make sure to fold the chicken chops tightly together while checking that the bone of each chicken chop touches the metal skewer. Once they’re firmly packed together, they won’t rotate while cooking – only the skewers have to rotate, not the meat.
In order to get the perfect flavour for your chicken chops, you should marinate them ahead of time. Also, I usually use a homemade spice rub (made only with pantry staples) to sprinkle on top of them once the cooking process starts and they begin to sweat.
These chicken chops take almost 2 hours to cook, but it’s definitely worth the wait!
5. Lamb Ribs
Who doesn’t love the taste of perfectly barbecued lamb ribs?
My tip for you is to have them all the same length and size. Also, when skewering, make sure to place the same side up for each one of them.
The meat and the bones should be salted only when the fat starts to melt to ensure that the salt sticks and seasons evenly. Depending on the size of the ribs, these should take around 1.5 to 2 hours to be ready (and less than half of that time to eat them).
Preparing these and also the chicken chops is what makes entertaining fun for all, the host included. There’s something about watching the meat cook while chatting with your guests and enjoying a cold beverage that just lifts your spirits.
There’s no better barbecue duo than this crunchy, aromatic rice paired with grilled lamb meat. Everyone will be crowding around the table to get seconds.
Enjoyed with sautéed onions or without, this is a wholesome side dish for any type of grilled meat.
You won’t be able to resist these crispy golden potatoes tossed with garlic, chilli, spring onion, and garnished with fresh coriander.
We all love hummus, right? Add some chilli and some avocado and you’ve got a heavenly creamy dish. No leftovers for this meal, trust me.
The perfect party snack, this labneh (strained yogurt) cheese bites shouldn’t miss from your barbecue table.
This popular Middle Eastern eggplant salad is traditionally cooked on the barbecue in order to get that specific smoky flavour. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy it with grilled bread.
A light summer salad that pairs wonderfully with various dishes such as grilled meat, rice, and legumes.
Not your ordinary salad, this one stands out thanks to the great flavours of the sumac and spices in the dressing and the crunchiness of the fried bread.
14. Super Herb Salad
Healthy and refreshing, this super simple salad is a staple at any barbecue.
15. Tabouli Salad
Considered the king of salads in the Middle East, this salad won’t disappoint.
A must-try creamy yet chunky dip for all the avocado lovers at your gathering.
17. Tzatziki Dip
Try this authentic tzatziki dip recipe I learned from an amazing chef in Rhodes.
Quite an exotic dip, the beetroot labneh is extremely easy to make (not to mention eat).
There you have it – an authentic Middle Eastern barbecue.
Remember: there’s more to barbecues than just the food. I think we all have happy memories of a cozy barbecue gathering. Maybe a summer evening barbecue where there are chatting and laughter all around and people passing food bowls around the table, clinking glasses for the glory of past days, and sharing funny or embarrassing family stories.
Moments like these are quite special because you have the opportunity to sit down and connect with your close ones while eating delicious meals cooked with love.