Dispatch from Turkey: How to Make Venison Kebaps

I've been traveling through Turkey for the past couple of weeks, both in Istanbul and along the Mediterranean coast. Most of my time was spent doing lots of "research" a.k.a. eating, and if there's one thing I took away from all this hard work it's that Turkey is a street-food country. Everywhere I traveled, there was someone on a street corner selling something to eat, whether it be roasted corn or chestnuts, simit (sort of like a sesame-encrusted bagel), rice-stuffed mussels, fresh melon, or, like most places in Europe, some type of grilled or roasted meat on a skewer.

Of the skewered meats, one of my favorites was an adana kebap, like those from Musam Ocakbasi just a block or so off Istanbul's Taksim Square. Adana, or kiyma, kebap is made from ground meat, usually lamb, that gets molded onto a long, flat skewer and grilled over coals. A little crunchy on the outside and moist in the middle, the kebap is served with a warm flatbread and zerzavat, an onion salad (see recipe below). Some places also provide either a yogurt or spicy tomato sauce as well.

I couldn't help but think an adana kebap could translate into something from the Wild Chef freezer, so I did a little research and came up with this recipe using ground venison in place of the lamb. If you mix your ground venison a little heavy on the pork or beef tallow, all the better, as you want to keep the mixture as moist as possible. In the following recipe, I added an egg to help hold everything together.

Venison Adana Kebaps

Ingredients
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 egg
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt

Directions
1. Add the ingredients to a large bowl and, using your hands, mix everything together quickly, but thoroughly. Cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors combine and mixture set.

2. Remove the meat mix from the refrigerator and pull off a piece about the size of an egg. Form this tightly and evenly along the length of a flat skewer. (Try to find the widest, flattest skewers you can. These are close to what they use in Turkey, though not exact.) And if you don't have a flat skewer, you can form elongated patties, sort of like a flattened sausage. Repeat with the remaining mix.

3. Place the skewers over a medium-hot fire and grill, turning often, until the outside is a bit charred and the inside is cooked through. Serve with warm flat bread and zerzavat.

Zerzavat

Ingredients
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
- 1 tsp. sumac
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 lemon wedges

Directions
Mix first four ingredients together and serve immediately with lemon wedges.