Spice Up Your Next Barbecue: 15+ Middle Eastern Recipes You Must Try

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:

Meat Dishes

1. Lamb Cutlets

lamb cutlets and herb salsa

Cook these cutlets medium-rare, drizzle them with herb salsa and enjoy an explosion of flavour with every bite.

2. Char-Grilled Lamb Backstrap

lamb backstrap

Take your barbecue to the next level with this savoury lamb back-strap marinade.

3. Barbecue Chicken Wings

barbecued chicken wings served with garlic paste

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

chicken chops on Rotisserie,

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. 

Side Dishes

6. Arabian Spicy Nut Rice

arabian nut rice with lamb shanks served in a white bowl

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.

7. Chicory with Sauteed Onions – Hindbi

Enjoyed with sautéed onions or without, this is a wholesome side dish for any type of grilled meat.

8. Spicy Garlic Roast potatoes Batata Hara

Spicy Garlic Roast Potatoes (Batata Hara)

You won’t be able to resist these crispy golden potatoes tossed with garlic, chili, and spring onion, and garnished with fresh coriander.

9. Chilli Avocado Hummus

Chili avocado hummus

We all love hummus, right? Add some chili and some avocado and you’ve got a heavenly creamy dish. No leftovers for this meal, trust me.

10. Labneh Cheese Bites

labneh cheese bites along side a barbecue outdoor

The perfect party snack, these labneh (strained yogurt) cheese bites shouldn’t miss from your barbecue table.


11. Smoky Eggplant Salad

smokey eggplant salad

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.

12. Yogurt Cucumber Salad

yogurt and cucumber salad

A light summer salad that pairs wonderfully with various dishes such as grilled meat, rice, and legumes. 

13. Crunchy Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Herb salad served in a bowl

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

tossing the salad in a clear bowl

Healthy and refreshing, this super simple salad is a staple at any barbecue.

15. Tabouli Salad

tabouli salad in a white dinosaur design bowl held by rouba shahin

Considered the king of salads in the Middle East, this salad won’t disappoint. 


16. Chunky Avocado Dip

A must-try creamy yet chunky dip for all the avocado lovers at your gathering.

17. Tzatziki Dip

tzatziki served in a bowl

Try this authentic tzatziki dip recipe I learned from the amazing chef Yannis at his Taverna Paraga in Apollona Village, Rhodes.

18. Beetroot Labneh Dip

beetroot labneh served with crispy bread

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 is 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. 


Sahtan – Enjoy in good health.

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Creating magic and happy memories with food are my gift for you!
xx Rouba

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