Barbecued lamb skewers   Traditional recipe of Abruzzo

Who doesn't know Italian arrosticini? It's a typical recipe of Abruzzo, born near Gran Sasso thanks to the shepherds that ever threw nothing even the meat of a sheep that had reached the end of its production cycle. Arrosticini are lamb or mutton skewers grilled directly over coals. Read more below. Besides I want to remember you they are an example of Mediterranean recipes!

Arrosticini or mutton skewers, recipe of Abruzzo
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Lamb skewers or Italian arrosticini

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 600g (1 1/3 pound) meat of lamb or mutton or sheep
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 20 minutes
    cooking: less than 10 minutes
    total time: about 30 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 440 (kcal) 22 % GDA (*)- 1839 (kJ)
    Protein: 25.5 (g) 51 % GDA
    Total fat: 37.5 (g) 54 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 0.0 (g)
    Sugars: 0.0 (g)

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Arrosticini (BBQ lamb skewer) recipe

Arrosticini is a so tasty recipe that if you ever taste it, it wiil be unforgettable.

My parental grandparents were from Abruzzo and I ate arrosticini a lot of time in my chilhood so I can describe it to you with a lot of details. Beautiful memories of youth ... when there were many more country fairs and every opportunity was OK to taste them.
Their smell accompanied all country fairs in Abruzzo and a lot of people ate the "rrustelle", even walking. It's a typical street food but nobody knew these words at that time. Most people had their snack in the afternoon eating arrosticini seated at long wooden tables. Arrosticini were accompanied by peasant-style bread spread with olive oil. What a delicacy! The further proof the simplest recipes are the best recipes!
I believe these traditions have not changed in Abruzzo, maybe they're less frequent.
And be careful: eat arrosticini taking every little piece of mutton with your mouth. Don't think of good manners eating arrosticini!
To begin I want to point out the following details:

  • - Barbecued lamb skewers or arrosticini must be cooked only on charcoal or embers of oak. Any other cooking method could ruin their typical flavor.
    If you bake them you have to know it isn't the same recipe!
  • - Don't add anything else, only salt at the end of cooking
  • - It's a simple-to-do recipe. Be careful only on cooking!


  • - Cut lamb meat into pieces (1 1/2-inch cubes). Look at the photo for more details!
  • - Thread them into skewers, 25 - 30cm long (10 to 12 inches).
  • - You can alternate fat pieces with lean pieces according to a tradition well known in Abruzzo.
  • - Meanwhile, prepare your charcoal and let it burn until it becomes gray-white.


  • - Grill directly over coals until their outside is browned and crisp.
  • - Turn skewers over and let them brown.
  • - Turn them again on the first side and let them cook for less than 30 seconds.
  • - They must be cooked quickly, only in this way the meat is tender and its inside pink.

Just before serving

  • - Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.



  • - These barbecued lamb skewers must not be marinated or sprinkled with lemon juice or brushed with rosemary sprigs dipped int olive oil. All these method can be perfect for grilling other kinds of meat but they're not suitable for mutton skewers.
  • - In Abruzzo there is "fornacella" or "furnacella" or "rustillire" according to the specific local dialetct to grill these arrosticini. As you can see in the photo it is long and narrow so the lamb skewers can't catch fire.

Menu plannning

  • - I suggest barbecued lamb skewers for your BBQ menu. Cook them as soon as possible and distribute to your guests waiting for other foods. Match them with the red wine we suggest that can be paired with all your grilled food. In this case the doses are enough for more people.

Healthy eating

  • - You'll need semi-fat lamb or mutton or sheep meat to prepare arrosticini and so you can't satisfy both your taste and nutrition facts.
    Sometimes you have to pay to eat tasty foods :-) Balance your meals in the rest of the day and prefer low fat foods.
  • - Arrosticini is a perfect choice if you're planning a BBQ menu because this dish can be combined easily with many other dishes and it is digestible.
  • - This lamb recipe has no fiber. The daily value is 30g.


What's the right wine for " Barbecued lamb skewers "?

Our suggestion is to match a typical red wine of Abruzzo that is Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. If you like you can also dilute red wine with Italian gassosa. Is Italian gassosa for you fizzy drink?