Spicy Lamb Skewers (Yang Rou Chuan)

Recipe courtesy of Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh; adapted from Kebabs: 75 Recipes for the Grill

“The first time we tried these Chinese street food kebabs, we were amazed by the complexity of the flavors. There is a slow-building heat that combines with the toasted cumin and results in something remarkable. The real secret is in the toasting of the spices before it is applied to the meat. This brings out the essential oils and makes a fragrant and flavorful kebab.”

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  • 1 lamb roast (2 pounds)
  • 6 to 8 skewers
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


In a small skillet, toast the cumin seeds and peppercorns for 1 to 2 minutes. Move the seeds around in the pan for even toasting. Once they become fragrant, remove from the heat. Place into a spice or coffee grinder on medium setting. Pulverize the seeds. Dump out into a small bowl and add the remaining ingredients for the spice rub. Set aside.

Cut the lamb roast into 1¼-inch cubes. Place the lamb cubes into a large bowl. Pour the spice rub into the bowl and toss to coat all of the meat. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Set the EGG for direct cooking without the convEGGtor at 450°F.

When the temperature is steady, oil the grill grates right before putting on the kebabs. Using long-handled tongs, dip some folded paper towels in a high smoke point cooking oil and wipe down the grill grates, making at least three good passes to create a nonstick surface.

Thread the lamb cubes onto the skewers, about 6 to 8 pieces per skewer. Place the kebabs onto the grill. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning every few minutes. Remove the kebabs from the grill and serve. We recommend an ice cold beer to accompany these delicious kebabs.

1 thought on “Spicy Lamb Skewers (Yang Rou Chuan)”

  1. We had these in Xi’an, they’re fantastic and ubiquitous. They’re really easy to recreate on the Egg and very evocative.

    We’ve made a whole jar of the spice rub, near enough as makes little difference to yours, and we leave them to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

    Great recipe and I certainly recommend giving it a go.

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