Method: GrillJump to Recipe
What are Cevapi?
One of the things that I always find amazing is the “evolution” of food. So many foods in different regions, countries, and even continents can be traced back to a common dish, but as that dish was taken, adopted, and adapted by various cultures it transforms into something different, that takes on the qualities and attributes of that region. One of those dishes is Cevapi or Cevapcici. These caseless sausages can be found throughout the Balkans and are the National dish of Bosnia and Herzergovina. They are also found throughout Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, Serbia, and most of the other countries in the region with each country having subtle differences in flavor, size, shape, and accompaniments. In appearance and taste they are quite similar to Turkish Kofta (food evolution baby!), and the roots of both are likely tied to Persian kebabs.
I am so happy my friend Nena directed me to these fantastic Balkan beef and lamb sausages. If you ever find yourself in Eastern Washington, definitely make a special trip to check out European Desserts and Appetizers by Nena. They are worth the trip! Her tiramisu and charcuterie boards are legendary in the Tri-Cities. Check them out at https://www.dessertsbynena.com/
Ingredients for Cevapi
These meaty treasures are pretty simple to make with the use of fairly common ingredients.
After gathering the ingredients, combine the spices in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of water. Combining the spices with a bit of liquid before mixing with the meat greatly helps in evenly spreading the spice throughout the meat. It is a trick I learned from making Chef Tony Gemignani’s Meatballs Gigante, that I frequently use anytime I am seasoning meat. Check out my rendition of his famous meatballs here.
Next, mix the meat mixture with the spice liquid and form into shape of choice. This is where regional differences take hold. Our preference is smaller cigar shaped patties as they cook quicker and fit perfectly into pitas with the Ajvar and other fillings We have also had good luck making them bigger and then slicing them up for serving in the same manner. Either way, be sure to let them rest overnight to develop the appropriate flavor and texture.
Time to grill
Now that you have done the most difficult part, waiting, it is time for the best part. GRILLING! Fire up your smoker or grill to 400 degrees and let’s cook these bad boys up. We cooked these grilled cevapi up on our Big Green Egg with GrillGrates, but these Balkan sausages turn up equally great on a Weber, Traeger, or what every BBQ grill you have.
After your grill is at temp cook the sausages over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to indirect heat until they reach an internal temp of 155 degrees. The carry over temp will carry the meat to the USDA safe temp of 160. Finally, cover the cevapi with foil and let the grilled sausages rest for about 5 minutes while you plate the rest of your meal.
Traditionally these are served up simply with some onion and Ajvar sauce. We have included the recipe below, or find even more detail about this Balkan delight here:
Stuff it all together in a pita and you have a one of the most popular street foods in all of the Baltic.
“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding…”- Pink Floyd
“Unless the pudding is made of meat, why would I want it?”- Carne Diem
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Balkan Kebabs: Cevapi
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1/2 pound Ground Pork
- 1/2 pound Ground Lamb
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tea Sweet Hungarian Paprika
- 2 tea Fine Sea Salt
- 1 tea Black Pepper we love smoked pepper
- 1 tea Baking Soda
- 2 Tab Water
- In a large bowl, combine the spices with the water and mix well
- Stir in the meats and mix well
- Sprinkle with baking soda, mix and shape into small sausages
- Refrigerate overnight
- Heat grill to 400 degrees
- Cook the sausages over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to indirect heat until they reach an internal temp of 155 degrees (carry over temp will carry the meat to the USDA safe temp of 160).
- Cover with foil and let the meat rest for about 5 minutes while you plate the rest of your meal.