Homo sapiens have been threading food onto sticks and cooking it over open flame for millennia. Kebabs, shashlik, kushiyaki, satay—whatever the local moniker, nearly every culture has some succulent take on skewered protein and vegetables. That’s the beauty of kebabs: There’s a literal world of recipes out there to discover. Some are minimalist and let the main ingredient shine (meat, flame, fin), while others, such as Turkish adana kebabs and West African dibi hausa, are so lavishly spiced the neighbors might come knocking while you grill. The throughline in all of these dishes, of course, is the gratifyingly macabre step of stabbing stuff—objectively fun, no doubt, so long as you don’t accidentally skewer yourself! 

Adana Kebabs (Turkish-Style Ground Lamb Skewers)

Turkish Lamb Kebabs
Photography by Simon Bajada

Dried chiles and red pepper paste lend this grill house classic its signature heat. Get the recipe >

Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs

Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs
Photography by Thomas Payne

The key to these Indian-style kebabs is the marinade, a heady mix of yogurt, lime, and a half a dozen spices. Get the recipe >

Paneer Tikka Kebabs

Paneer Tikka Kebabs
Photography by Thomas Payne

Skewers get stacked with creamy paneer and crisp veggies in this meatless barbecue knockout.

Machli Kebabs (Indian-Style Swordfish Skewers)

Grilled Swordfish Kebabs (Machli Kebabs)
Photography by Thomas Payne

These dill-flecked kebabs from India are at their summery best when served alongside saffron rice, kachumber, and thinly sliced onions. Get the recipe >

Grilled Marinated Lamb Kebabs

Lamb Kebabs
Photography by Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Lamb shoulder is an oft-overlooked cut that takes marvelously to marinating and grilling. Get the recipe >

Galilee-Style Grilled Fish Kebabs

Galilee-Style Grilled Fish Kebabs
Ted Cavanaugh

Once you try the spicy garlic marinade that this recipe calls for, you’ll be slathering it on everything from chicken to lamb to beef. Get the recipe >

Filipino Barbecue Chicken Skewers

Filipino Barbecue Chicken Skewers
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

These craveable kebabs rely on banana ketchup for their signature tang. Get the recipe >

Shish Kebabs

Chicken Shish Kebabs
Farideh Sadeghin

A lemony marinade with plenty of garlic makes these Persian-style kebabs both tender and tart. Get the recipe >

Satay Jamur (Javanese Oyster Mushroom Satay)

Oyster Mushroom Satay Indonesian Sate Jamur
Photography by Remko Kraaijeveld

The classic Indonesian street food from the island of Java takes mushrooms to new, meaty heights. Get the recipe >

Dibi Hausa (West African Grilled Beef Kebabs with Tankora Spice)

Dibi Hausa Senegalese Skewers
Photography by Belle Morizio

A ginger-garlic marinade and a roll in spicy crushed peanuts add flavor and texture to these barbecued skewers. Get the recipe >

Sweet and Sour Eggplant Satay

Sweet and Sour Eggplant Satay Sate Terong
Photography by Remko Kraaijeveld

Bite-size chunks of velvety charred eggplant are now a staple in our summer grilling rotation, thanks to this deceptively simple satay recipe inspired by Indonesian street vendors. Get the recipe >

Satay Udang (Shrimp Satay)

Shrimp Satay Recipe on Red Baskets
Photography by Belle Morizio

Ground candlenuts mellow out this spicy shrimp satay that hails from coastal Singapore. Get the recipe >

Mitarashi Dango (Japanese Rice Dumplings with Sweet Soy Glaze)

Japanese Dango Recipe
Photography by Linda Pugliese; Food Styling by Jason Schreiber; Prop Styling by Elvis Maynard

These soft glutinous rice balls with a sweet soy glaze are festival food in Japan, but they’re equally satisfying as dessert at home. Get the recipe >