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Kebabs On Bay Tree Sticks

portugese kebabs recipe

To save time while working in the fields, or at large church gatherings (festas), it is the custom in Madeira to skewer chunks of beef on bay sticks and to grill them over glowing coals. In restaurants today, kebabs are served on iron skewers which hang from a rack. This is a very easy recipe to try at home and it creates an amazing atmosphere. To serve, the host offers the bay stick skewers to guests, who help themselves to chunks of meat. (Don't forget to leave a hand free for the wine.)

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  • 6 ServingsServings


  • 2 pound steak (Scotch Fillet, first rib off the bone)
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

Garlic or Herb 'Butter'

  • 250g margarine
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt
  • 8 - 10 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • *Piri piri to taste (Homemade - choose your own heat!)


1) Cut up the steak into chunks.

2) Rub the steak with a mixture of the garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper

3) Slide the meat onto a bay tree stick or iron skewer. If you are using iron skewers, throw a few dried bay leaves into the fire - they produce a wonderful aroma

4) Grill the kebabs over glowing coals

5) Paint the kebabs with a blob of garlic 'butter' (recipe below) just before serving or serve the garlic 'butter'  in a dipping bowl. Chunks of Portuguese bread/rolls can also be placed on either side of a piece of meat to help pull it off the stick, then dipped in garlic!

Garlic or Herb 'Butter'

1) Place margarine into food processor, add the remaining ingredients and blend.

2) Turn on to aluminium foil, shape into a roll, wrap and reshape. Keep in the refrigerator or freeze (don't forget to label it).

* Mimi's Piri Piri Sauce

There are dozens of recipes for piri piri sauce. I prefer this very simple one. Piri piri chillies are VERY HOT. Unless you grown your own, they may be bought as dried, whole chillies. If you are using fresh chillies, crush or slice them, place them in a jar or bottle (preferably on with a cork top), add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, a small piece of lemon rind, 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp salt. Fill the rest of the bottle with two-thirds mixed olive and cooking oil and one-third vinegar. Cork the bottle and shake once a day. Leave for at least 10 - 15 days before using.

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