Döner Kebab, home made!

Living abroad can be hell when you know that there is great food at home and you don’t even get to taste a fraction of it unless you make it yourself. OK, there are restaurants everywhere from your home but they are not even close to good. Especially döner kebab… I always hear people say oh we ate kebab and it was great. No, it is was not great. It wasn’t even good. It was factory made with strange tastes. Even EU decided against them, apparently they use phosphates to enhance or protect or whatever. And come on, it is called döner. Kebab is a general name for different types of meat dishes. But enough of that.

All I am saying is that we miss Turkish food, and thanks to a facebook group of Turkish food lovers, everyday for more than 30 days I saw pictures of the best döner plates in İstanbul. The first few days were managable. Then it became more and more clear that we would make it home, one way or the other. By the end of 30 days I had my grill ready! And I even scored a recipe from the person responsible for the döner pictures.

I contacted the butcher in our organic market as I needed caul fat. But do I know how it’s called in French? Of course not! It is crépine, by the way. Well I didn’t even know the English name until I started writing this paragraph! “Listen, Mr. Butcher, it is a fat tissue found around the stomack, it covers organs, it’s like a net…” At least he is a serious guy and he doesn’t make fun of me when I am silly like this. He said they had it and I could come whenever. Later on I went to pick up and when he saw me he just told his friend “the lady wants caul fat”. Without even asking my name on the phone. I am “the lady that wants strange stuff with a strange accent.”

Just a note from the butcher, these types of fats are apparently very fragile so best kept in a mixture of water and vinegar.

After finding the fat I picked up the meat. So best ratio is 30% lamb and 70% beef. I chose lamb brisket because it has a lot of fat, and for beef I chose entrecote and tranche, all sliced thin. We marinated all the meat with grated onions, milk and olive oil for 24 hours.

Next day we drained the meat and arranged them all on the grill. The trick here is to start with caul fat, go on with less fatty tranche, then lamb, etc. mix it all, fatty pieces followed by non-fatty ones. When all is on the metal shish, cover with a last piece of fat and it is ready. At this stage you can actually trim it for even cooking but since we had a small döner, we wanted to eat it all.

By small I mean two and a half kilos for four but… Ahem… Anyway.

Then we wrapped and rested it for another day.


Annnddd voilà! Proud Turks eating their tiny döner kebab. And may I say, this was the BEST döner I have ever tasted in Europe?

Home Made Döner Kebab

Prep Time: 2 days
Cook Time: 60 mins
Yields: 6-8


  • 750g Beef Tranche
  • 750g Beef Entrecote
  • 600g Lamb Brisket
  • Caul fat
  • 1-2 onions
  • 300ml milk
  • 200ml olive oil


  1. Grate the onion, drain and keep the jus.
  2. Marinate the meat in onion jus, milk and olive oil for 24 hours.
  3. Drain the marinated meat.
  4. Arrange the meat on the grill's shish, start with fat, then alternate all meats and fat, finish with fat.
  5. Optional: for even cooking trim the meat.
  6. Rest in the fridge for another day.
  7. Cook and eat, cook more and eat more!

Additional Info

You can use tail fat if you want more fatty but good luck finding it.
You can serve with rice or any type of bread that you like.
This recipe was too much for 4, if you serve with sides, it may easily serve 8.
Türkçe versiyonu burada!


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