Barbequed Chicken | Turkish Eats

This recipe comes from Avanzade Mehmed Suleyman's Sihhat Matbahi, a cookbook published in 1917 in Arabic letters. It is a simple yet very effective way of creating a very tasty chicken dish.

Unlike the American barbeque, no sauces are used in Turkish barbeques. Instead, the meat is left in a marinade for several hours. A classic marinade is pure onion juice (not onions!), which softens the meat in addition to giving it a basic yet delicious flavor. This may be the best barbecued chicken you have ever eaten


  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 - 4 medium onions
  • 3 teaspoons of paprika or 2 teaspoons of paprika and 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt


For the marinade, thinly slice the onions and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt.  Use your fingers to mix the onions so they are evenly coated with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Use your hands to squeeze the juice out of the onions. Salt will soften the onion slices and make this a lot easier. You can also use a medium mesh strainer for this purpose. Please do not use a food processor to create an onion puree. The pureed onion sticks to the meat and burns during the barbeque and worse, it gives a sweet taste to the meat.

Add the paprika and the red pepper to the onion juice and marinade the chicken thighs for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Overnight is better!

When you are ready to cook, add the olive oil and use your hands to coat the thighs evenly wih oil. Oil is added in the end so that the thighs can soak the onion juice more effectively.

Every barbeque is different but if you have a good fire going, you should not have to cook either side of the thighs for more than six minutes. This is plenty of cooking since we are using boneless thighs.

Sprinkle the thighs with salt when they are ready to serve.

© Mehmet Ozturk 2017