Spicy Lamb skewers over hot coals from a roadside vendor is a classic Beijing street food. Spicy, crispy, fatty lamb skewers with Xinjiang spice is the bomb!


  • 1 pound lamb shoulder chops(450g)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least an hour (to prevent them from burning on the grill)


  1. Take the chops and simply remove the meat from the bone and cut into small chunks. Don’t trim any of the fat from the lamb. This is what’s going to give you the flavor you’re looking for. Put the lamb in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), add the cumin, cumin seeds, chili flakes, and salt. Pound it all together, cracking the chili flakes and cumin seeds into smaller pieces (you want it to be coarse, not a fine powder). Add about half of the spices (the other half will be used for sprinkling after the lamb finishes cooking) to the lamb along with the oil and mix everything together.
  3. Put the lamb onto the skewers. Heat your grill until searing hot. Grill the skewers until they get a nice char on the outside. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle on the extra spices. Serve!

Tips and Notes:

It’s also great just sprinkled over whole lamb chops and then grilled, or roasted the marinated shoulder in oven and then sliced into thin slices after cooking.

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