Urfa Kebab

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Urfa Kebab is another famous Kebab variety of Turkish cuisine. It may be considered as the sibling of Adana Kebab. Even if they look very similar on the grill, there is one important difference between these two kebab varieties.

Urfa Kebab has its name from Şanlıurfa city of Turkey. Şanlıurfa city is yet another famous gastronomic city in Turkey. When we think about kebab varieties, Şanlıurfa, Adana, and Gaziantep cities come first. These three cities are the holy ground for kebab lovers.

Şanlıurfa city is not only famous for its gastronomic spectrum but also very famous for its historical, cultural, and sociological diversity too. The city has a famous Sıra Nights. On these special nights, locals come together to eat and sing local songs with playing traditional musical instruments. In these “Sıra Nights”, you can find many different local dishes, kebabs, and mezes. Çiğ Köfte is one of these mezes and it is usually served before the Urfa Kebab as a starter at Sıra Nights.

The History of Şanlıurfa City

For some historians, the Şanlıurfa city of Turkey is considered the city of Ur. The city has a history of more than 12000 years. It is predating Stone Hedge by 6000 years. The exploration of Gobekli Tepe changed the history of mankind in one night. The city was originally named Urfa but later awarded with the Şanlı title. This title means glorious in English and it is given to the city because it played a very important role during the Independence War of Turkey in the 1920s.

Ancient cities such as Harran and Soğmatar are located in Şanlıurfa city’s territory. These cities’ histories go back thousands of years ago. Şanlıurfa, with its wealth of biblical associations, is known as Anatolia’s Jerusalem. The city is holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. According to the Old Testament, the Prophet İbrahim (Abraham), was born in the city of Ur and he migrated to Harran with his family.

Balıklı Göl

Balıklı Göl is believed by the Muslims to be the place where Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. The story says that when Abraham landed in the fire by Nimrod, God turned the flames into water and the burning logs into fish. This pool is named Balıklı Göl (Lake with Fish) after this ancient story.

As Abraham is a significant religious figure for Christians, this Balikli Gol is the first place to stop by and visit for the Christian Tours throughout Turkey.

Balikli Gol

Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is located 11 km northeast of Şanlıurfa. The famous German Archeologist Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all mankind. Today, Gobekli Tepe has already passed the yearly three million visitor barrier. Gobekli Tepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018. You can find many artifacts that are found at Gobekli Tepe at Urfa Museum.

Gobekli Tepe

What is the difference between Urfa Kebab and Adana Kebab?

There is only one main difference between the Urfa Kebab recipe and the Adana Kebab recipe. Urfa Kebab doesn’t contain spice (red hot chili pepper) in it but Adana Kebab does. Some Şanlıurfa city local chefs are also adding finely chopped parsley to the ingredients. It will be up to you to add chopped parsley to your Urfa Kebab recipe.

Instead of using red hot chili peppers, sweet red pepper flakes are used at Urfa Kebab. In Turkey, some of us consider this Kebab variety as a non-spicy Adana Kebab, but; it is not the case. In my opinion, Urfa Kebab has its own special taste without spice. If you are spice intolerant, Urfa Kebab is the go-to Kebab variety for you without a doubt.

Where to eat Urfa Kebab?

Whatever restaurant name you have heard from your friends or food blogs about where to eat Urfa Kebab, kindly don’t pay attention. If you want to feel the taste and the ambiance in one place, there is no better place than Cevahir Han restaurant in Şanlıurfa city. I strongly recommend you stop by at this restaurant throughout your Şanlıurfa trip.

Urfa Kebab

Course Main Course
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 250 kcal


  • 500 gr lamb ground beef
  • 100 gr tail fat cube cut
  • 2 red carmen pepper mezzeluna cut
  • 3 tbsp sweet red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine lamb ground beef and tail fat cubes by using mezzaluna knife. It will take around 30 minutes to combine lamb meat and tail fat well together. 

  2. Combine mezzaluna cut red carmen pepper, red sweet pepper flakes and salt with the mix and use mezzaluna knife again to combine all them well. It will take additional 10 minutes to combine all the mix well. 

  3. Put the kebab meat on to the skewers. (You can use water to prevent the kebab meat to stick on your hand.) 

  4. Place the skewers on a charcoal grill and cook around 15 minutes. While grilling, don't forget to flip the each side of the Kebab continuously to keep the tail fat's and ingredients' juice stay in the meat.

Recipe Notes

Tip: Serve with Lavash bread, sliced onions and sliced tomatoes for wrapping.

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