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Berbere Kifto

Monday, 26 May 2008


This recipe and others can be found in the book excerpt

Barbecue Inferno,

by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach 


At a glance
Heat Level
Main Course

Berbere Paste:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cayenne chile

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, allspice, turmeric, and cloves

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons chopped purple onion

  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine

  • 3 or more tablespoons vegetable oil, peanut preferred

The Kifto

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 recipe berbere paste, above

  • 3 tablespoons minced purple onion

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 egg, beaten


To make the paste, combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor and with the motor running, slowly add just enough of the oil to form a paste.

Combine all the ingredients for the kifto in a bowl and mix well. Form into small balls, slightly elongated, and place on skewers.

Grill over a medium hot fire for about 8 minutes until cooked through. Cut open a sample to check for doneness.


Additional Tips

Berbere is both the Ethiopian name for chiles and an incredibly powerful paste made from chiles and numerous spices that are used in nearly all Ethiopian dishes. Tribal customs dictate that the berbere is served over warm, fresh raw meat called kifto. But there’s no way we’re going to serve raw meat in a barbecue book, so we grill the kiftoBebere is also an excellent treatment for chicken wings on the grill.


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