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Pineapple Lamb Skewers

pineapple lamb kebabs

It’s July! Which to my mind means it’s officially grilling season. The American Lamb Board asked me to come up with a recipe using a boneless leg of lamb and a grill and a beer pairing for it as part of their summer grilling contest. Most people think of a leg of lamb as a stuffy affair (literally stuffed maybe) all tied up and roasted rare and served on a china platter to a table full of British diplomats. Whoa-ho. Not in my backyard, buddy.

Instead of cooking it whole or even butterflied, I took the simple and quick route and cut it up to make kebabs (or skewers? Do you call them kebabs or skewers? I grew up saying kebabs but now I see skewers all over the place). I love kebabs on the grill because they marinate and cook super fast and if you have some pickier eaters in the group, it’s easy to cook one kebab medium-well and leave the others medium or medium-rare. (Here’s a handy chart from the American Lamb Board stating cooking temperatures for lamb.)

Lamb is best served with a sturdy beer that won’t be overwhelmed by the lamb. For this recipe, with its pineapple sweetness and little bit of spice, I chose an amber ale. The complexity of it pairs nicely with meaty lamb, while the ale’s nuttiness is complemented by the fruity glaze.

The pineapple juice tenderizes the meat, but be careful not to let it marinate too long or it will over-marinate it and turn the texture kind of grainy. Two hours is perfect but one hour will do if that’s all the time you have. Remember to save some of the marinade for basting. It creates a shiny, sweet and sour glaze on the kebabs. Also remember to oil your grill before you start! The sugars in the juice may stick to your grate if it’s not cleaned and oiled.

Pineapple Lamb Skewers Recipe – printable

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Pineapple Lamb Skewers

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author:
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless leg of American lamb (about 3 pounds)
  • 12 ounce can pineapple juice concentrate, thawed (100% juice)
  • 3 limes (juice 2 and reserve 1 for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 habanero pepper (minced for heat, just halved for mild lamb skewers)
  • Optional vegetables:
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 red onion, cut into eighths

Instructions

  1. Cut the lamb into 1 1/2 inch cubes, removing large chunks of fat, and set aside. You should get about 24 pieces.
  2. Combine juice concentrate with 3 tablespoons lime juice from 2 limes, salt, turmeric, garlic and the habanero pepper in a medium bowl and whisk until salt is dissolved.
  3. Reserving 1/4 cup of marinade for basting, pour the rest over the lamb and marinate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Thread lamb chunks onto skewers, leaving some space between, alternating with vegetables if you like.
  5. Get a hot grill going (400-450ºF) and scrub it and oil it. Grill skewers for about 9 minutes total, turning twice and basting each time you turn. Keep the grill closed between turning/basting to retain heat. Cooked this way, you will have medium-done lamb (pink and juicy throughout) which is my preference for kebabs. To be sure, check the kebabs with a thermometer. They should read 135ºF when you remove them from the grill. Let them rest 5-10 minutes to allow the residual heat to bring them up to 145ºF. (Increase or decrease cooking time by 2 minutes total for well-done or medium doneness.)
  6. Serve with fresh lime wedges.

Notes

Got leftover grilled lamb? Make a lamb and tsatsiki salad! Dice lamb and reheat quickly in a hot skillet. Toss on top of hearty salad greens like arugula, baby spinach and/or Romaine lettuce. Spoon generous amounts of tsatsiki sauce over the top.
Tsatsiki:
1 cucumber, peeled and grated
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint or 1 tablespoon fresh minced mint
Press water from cucumber by rolling between clean towels. Combine with remaining ingredients and refrigerate.

pineapple-lamb-skewers-vertical-hilahcooking

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16 Comments

  1. Jennifer M-H on July 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    mmm Lamb…. so good, and so expensive….
    im looking forward to my nearing move to the UK, where its dead easy to find and quite cheap.

    my tzatziki uses greek yogurt and dill with garlic and lemon…. mint and plain yogurt seems like a raita to me…but i’m sure this is PERFECT for lamb. the whole lamb and mint thing going on.

    im filing this one to use once i move and can afford a few pounds of lamb
    🙂

    • Hilah on July 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Ooh, yes, I bet you’ll get some great lamb there. Best of luck on your move! Ours went fairly well so hopefully yours will, too. Let me know if you try this. 🙂
      You’re right about that being more like a raita. I should have called it that, I guess.

    • Keith on July 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Dear Jennifer,

      A huge welcome in advance to the UK! I live on the lovely coast of Norfolk, in eastern England, where the salt-marsh lamb is wonderful. Hilah mentioned stuffy British diplomats but of course Brits don’t really match that stereotype… we’re cool, laid-back guys and gals, and BBQ crazy, too! And nobody has better raw materials so near at hand, both from the land and the sea.

      And Hilah, best of luck with finishing your move. I like your recipes and methods. We were given a vast Australian gas BBQ this week, and the weather is great right now, so I’ll try this recipe asap. Just back from a week ‘en famille’ in southern Brittany – those French love their BBQs too, but have slightly different ideas on how to do it. Merguez, any one? All tasted great, though. TTFN, Keith.

      • Hilah on July 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

        Thanks, Keith! You’re right about Brits. I love them 🙂
        I didn’t know that grilling was a popular thing in France, but I guess it’s probably popular just about everywhere in some form. I’d love to go there some day and see for myself. Hope you like this lamb recipe!

  2. Jen on July 17, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Hmm… do you think this would work with beef? We are part of a CSA, so the type of meals we end up making is sort of determined by what kind of meat we get from them every week, and it just so happens we’re getting beef kebab meat this week. But I bet it will be great! I’ll try it and let you know. I’ll have to throw mine under the broiler, since we don’t have a grill.

    I haven’t forgotten about the quiche, btw, I just haven’t gotten around to making it yet. 😀

    • Hilah on July 19, 2015 at 11:44 am

      I think it would be great with beef. I interchange beef and lamb often in recipes, depending on what I have. Let me know how it goes!

      • Jen on July 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

        So our CSA email for this week said we were getting beef kebab meat, so I was all excited to make these. Then when I opened up the package from the CSA, I found out we had gotten… beef stew meat. It was really tiny chopped stringy bits of fatty beef. Not exactly ideal for doing skewers. But I had already made the marinade so I pressed on! I only had a little over a pound of meat, so I also marinate a bunch of vegetation — sweet potatoes (par-boiled first so they would cook through), bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and fresh pineapple. I cooked everything under the broiler, with the rack set as close to the broiler as I could get it, and then tossed everything in a little extra marinade that I had held back after it was done cooking. Despite the meat not really being ideal for this (I ended up just laying it across a wire rack set over a baking sheet instead of trying to make skewers out of it) it still turned out really good. I love the marinade and will definitely try it with other things, and try other frozen juice concentrates as well, I had never thought to use those before!

        • Hilah on July 23, 2015 at 10:35 am

          Hooray! I’m glad you went ahead and tried it out. 🙂 Sweet potatoes sound really good with the marinade!

  3. Lulu on July 19, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    This looks wonderful. Wish I had a grill. Could I do it in a grill pan in the oven?
    Btw, you might take the Ziplist icon of your page since it no longer works… Ziplist went out of business last year.

    • Hilah on July 22, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Hi Lulu,
      Yes you could certainly do it on a grill pan either in the oven or on the stove. Enjoy!

  4. Rick on July 26, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Damn Girl but you sure do put things together in a great way!!! Keep on trucking and good luck on your “irons in the fire”.

    • Hilah on July 29, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Thanks, Rick! 🙂

  5. Marc Stifelman on July 26, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Looks good. Looking fwd to cooking.

    • Hilah on August 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Hope you enjoy, Marc!

  6. Lisa Gene Cox on September 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I am not a fan of lamb, but many of my friends are. I am thinking that the pineapple could make it more palatable. I will try this next time there are lambs around, and everyone is eating lamb wraps with zucchini sauce.

    • Hilah on September 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Do let me know if you like the lamb with pineapple!

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