Picnic-Style Seekh Kebabs with Lime Juice

These spiced pioneer drumsticks pair perfectly with warm flatbread, a campfire, and Stephen King’s "The Body."

When the flames began to die back a little bit, I stuck the sticks holding the Pioneer Drumsticks firmly into the ground at an angle over the fire. We sat around watching them as they shimmered and dripped and finally began to brown. Our stomachs made pre-dinner conversation.

Unable to wait until they were really cooked, we each took one of them, stuck it in a roll, and yanked the hot stick out of the center. They were charred outside, raw inside, and totally delicious. We wolfed them down and wiped the grease from our mouths with our bare arms.

“The Body” in Different Seasons
by Stephen King

A lot has changed in Maine since those boys from Castle Rock walked along the train tracks to the watershed moment of their childhood. Immigrants to Maine from around the world have followed their dreams here, bringing with them a taste of home. There are also travelers who come to watch the boys on the Walk, and I listen and gather their stories and recipes too. The recipe for these seekh kebabs came from one of those travelers, long ago, when I still had all my boys around me. They were never happier than after a supper of these.

Serve with flatbreads and a green salad for a picnic-style meal that will take you back to the campfires under the stars of your youth.


1 small yellow onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, quartered
1½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
1½ pounds 80% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving


In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and process until finely ground, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.

In a large bowl, combine the beef with the spice mixture. Using your hands, blend together, massaging the spice mixture into the meat and pounding it into a paste with your fist. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill. If using charcoal, spread a chimney of hot coals evenly over the grill bed. For gas, set all burners to high and heat, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the meat into six equal portions about 4 ounces each. Roll each portion into a tight ball, then into a log about 8 inches long. Thread a metal or wooden skewer lengthwise through the center of each log and, using your fingertips, press and roll the logs firmly onto the skewers.

Using a grill brush or stone, scrub the grill clean if necessary. Squeeze three or four paper towels into a loose ball, drizzle with vegetable oil, and quickly wipe the grill to grease it.

Grill the skewers, covered, using tongs to turn them twice, until well charred and firm to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Brush the lime juice onto the kebabs and serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.

Note: I prefer the indestructibility of metal skewers; if you’re using the wooden variety, be sure to soak them in water for 2 to 3 hours before grilling.

Excerpted from Castle Rock Kitchen: Wicked Good Recipes from the World of Stephen King by Theresa Carle-Sanders with a foreword by Stephen King (Ten Speed Press, 2022). Reprinted with permission from the publisher.


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