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The Bend Magazine

Farm to Table Recipe for Kafta Kabobs, Baba Ganoush, and Pita Bread

04/23/2021 09:57AM ● By Kayla Butts
By: Kayla & Justin Butts  Photography by: Rachel Benavides

 In America, our style of barbecue was born in the great forests of olden days. Our forefathers had access to limitless amounts of firewood, so they were able to slowly roast huge sides of beef or pork on fires that burned for days. We inherited our love

of briskets and other large cuts of meat from the long-burning fires of our ancestors.

But trees have always been scarce in the deserts of Arabia. Barbecue in the Middle East evolved over the treeless centuries into small cuts of meat that could be grilled quickly over a modest fire. This fast-grilling tradition produced the kafta kabob.

A kafta kabob is a skewer of ground meat seasoned with herbs and spices and grilled over a fire. The kafta kabob brings a unique and exotic flavor to the table. And because they cook so quickly, it is easy to grill your kafta to perfection.

Traditional Middle Eastern kafta is made from mutton. But local mutton is hard to find because sheep are difficult to raise in the heat and humidity of the Coastal Bend. For this recipe, we used our own grass-fed ground beef and seasoned the kafta with garlic, onions, parsley, and mint from the garden. Cumin and cinnamon give kafta kabobs their signature Middle Eastern flavor.

Baba ganoush is a dip made from eggplant, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Grilling the egg- plant gives your baba ganoush its smoky flavor while removing the phenolic compounds that can make eggplant bitter. Baba ganoush can be served on top of your kafta kabobs or as a dip for vegetables or pita bread.

You can grill your pita bread along with the kafta and egg- plant, or finish it on a cast iron skillet. Homemade pita is the perfect complement to your kafta kebob and brings an authen- tic flair to this dish.

These recipes are perfect for a simple and healthy weeknight meal for the family. And these dishes are so flavorful and out of the ordinary, they will make a wonderful addition to any weekend grilling party.

Bringing the Middle East to your grill has never been so easy.


Coastal Bend Kafta Kabobs

Serves 4-6
Prep time:
5 minutes 

Cook time: 15 minutes 


1lb grass-fed ground beef

4 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 onion, minced

3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped 

1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp kosher salt

1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper


Preheat gas or charcoal grill according to your normal procedure. Sub- merge 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the beef mixture into eight portions and form the meat mixture around each skewer.

Place each skewer on direct heat for 2 minutes per side, with the lid to the grill open. Then move to indirect heat with grill lid closed for 10-12 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.


Pita Bread

Serves 8

Prep time: 7 minutes 

Inactive prep time: 1 hour 

Cook time: 10 minutes 


1 packet, or 2 1⁄4 tsp fast-acting dry yeast

1 1⁄2 tsp sugar

1 1/3 cup water

4 cups bread flour 

1 tbsp salt

1⁄4 cup olive oil


Mix yeast, sugar, and water in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, until bubbles begin to form. Add re- maining ingredients and knead for 5 minutes, until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. Let rise for one hour.

Place a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and form into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until each pita is 1/8” thick. Cook the formed pitas on preheated skillet for 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm with kafta kabobs and baba ganoush. 


Baba Ganoush

Serves: 6
Prep time:
7 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes

Inactive prep time: 10 minutes

1 large eggplant, thickly sliced 

1⁄4 cup tahini

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp fresh parsley

1 tbsp good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle on the eggplant

1⁄4 tsp salt

juice of one lemon 

pinch of cumin


Preheat grill. Drizzle sliced eggplant with olive oil. Grill on direct heat for 2 minutes on each side, then move to indirect heat with the grill lid closed for an additional 10-15 minutes (or until flesh is ten- der). Remove from grill.

Once the eggplant has cooled, remove the peel. Place the eggplant pulp and remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, about 45 seconds. Serve with pita bread.