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Barbecued meat spiedini

Mixed meat skewers

Barbecued mixed meat spiedini

Americans may think that they invented barbecues but Italians have cooked on open wood fires inside and outside their homes for centuries. These days everyone in Italy with even a tiny backyard seems to have a pizza oven and grill combination outside for summer cooking and there is a long history of charcoal burners in the countryside making charcoal by hand, a trade that is now dying out. There is only one left in Suvereto for example.

Interestingly, the name chosen for the secret revolutionary society in Italy in the early days of the risorgimento was 'carbonari', or charcoal burners. The most famous barbecued meat spiedini in Italy are the lamb arrosticini from Abruzzo.

Mixed meat spiedini before putting on the barbecue

Ingredients for 4 spiedini:

1 chicken breast

pork fillet

4 sausages

small piece fillet steak or other tender cut of beef

2 slices of pancetta or unsmoked bacon (missing from the photos due to a shopping mistake by me but try to include it as pancetta adds some much needed fat to the spiedini)

16 sage leaves

12 cherry tomatoes

extra virgin Italian olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 skewers (metal is best as it conducts heat)

Grilling mixed meat spiedini over hot coals on the barbecue


1. Oil the barbecue grill to prevent sticking.

2. Cut the meat into roughly even sized pieces of at least 1.5 inch cubes. Any smaller and the meat will lose its internal juiciness and dry out. The chicken can be cut slightly smaller so that it will be fully cooked when everything else is ready.

3. Thread the ingredients onto the skewers as per the photos or however you prefer.

4. Splash on some olive oil, salt and pepper and place the skewers directly above the hot charcoal and close the lid of the barbecue to prevent flames.

5. Turn once or twice only during about 8-12 minutes of cooking time depending on the size of the chunks of meat and the temperature of the barbecue. Cut through the largest piece of chicken as a test and if that is cooked through then the spiedini will be ready.


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