Inspired by summer street food—they’re a bit of a cross between Greek gyros, Mexican tacos, and the traditional barbecue of my native Azerbaijan—these beef and chicken kebab wraps are light and satisfying. With plenty of color and flavor, they’re my go-to staple when company is coming.
Each wrap holds chicken and beef, oven fries, an onion-cilantro mixture, and sliced tomatoes, with yogurt-garlic sauce drizzled over all. The potatoes deliver French fry-style enjoyment with less fat—and the best meat choices are skinless, boneless chicken breasts and rib-eye steak trimmed of all marbling.
Traditionally, Azerbaijani kebabs are prepared on a grateless grill named “mangal,” and are suspended over the coals on hefty metal skewers, but the American bamboo skewers laid over a standard metal grate work just fine (just remember to soak the skewers for thirty minutes or so prior to using so they don’t catch on fire).
My choice of fuel is charcoal, for which I favor hardwood “chunks” over briquettes because they are ready faster, but this works equally well on a gas grill.
Beef and Chicken Kebab Wraps
For the kebabs:
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 x 2-inch strips
- 2 rib-eye steaks, trimmed completely of fat and the connective tissue, and cut into 1 x 2-inch strips
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional marinade: 1 sliced medium onion, salt, and a generous squirt of lemon juice
For the oven fries:
- 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into french fries
- 2 T vegetable oil
- salt and pepper, or seasoned salt to taste
- 4-5 flour tortillas or pitas
- 1 C plain yogurt, mixed with 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1/2 large or 1 medium onion, sliced and mixed with 1/2 C chopped cilantro and a sprinkling of salt
- 1 large ripe tomato, cut into strips
- several small pickles, cut into strips (optional)
- wing-style hot pepper sauce if you like extra spice (optional)
You will also need six bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes prior to using.
Bake the fries:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.
Coat a half-sheet/jelly roll baking pan with non-stick spray.
Place the potatoes into a bowl of hot tap water and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and dry with paper towels.
Place the potatoes onto the baking pan and drizzle with the oil. Toss to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and are beginning to turn crispy golden-brown on the outside.
Remove from pan onto a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoned salt. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Grill the meat:
If you wish to marinate the meat, toss it in a bowl with all of the marinade ingredients and refrigerate for several hours. Note: I marinate the beef and the chicken separately to avoid cross-contamination.
Roll the meat strips into tight rolls and place the rolls onto the skewers, 4 to 5 per skewer. Season generously with salt and pepper.
If using a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they are covered with a layer of gray ash. If using a gas grill, preheat it to medium. Be sure that your grill grate is hot and scrubbed clean with a wire brush before you place the food on it.
Place the skewers onto the grill (the rack does not need to be oiled), and allow to cook on one side, without turning, until a light-brown crust is formed. Turn skewers with tongs and repeat with other three sides, or until the chicken juices run clear and the beef has reached your desired degree of doneness (I like mine medium-well—mostly cooked through but with a hint of pink—and I test it by sticking a fork and a knife right in and taking a peek inside). Be careful to not overcook the meat to avoid it drying out.
Layer the meat, fries, pickles (if using), onions, and tomatoes onto the warmed flatbread of your choice. Drizzle with the yogurt-garlic sauce and serve immediately.
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