Beef Suya – Easy to make beef skewers seasoned with the most incredible spice mix for a show-off worthy party appetizer or insatiable main dish. Trust me, you won’t be able to eat just one.
About five years ago my wife and I started heavy research into our ancestry including taking DNA tests to get a better sense of our possible countries origin. Though most tests can’t pinpoint the exact single country, they can breakdown your ethnicity percentages by country. Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast all came up at varying levels. I’ve been on fire since researching my African heritage including culinary traditions and have been experimenting with different native African dishes over the years. My research only confirmed what many have theorized, i.e. like most things including food, mother Africa is the source. Foodwise whether we’re talking about paella, gumbo, jambalaya or even meat skewers Africans did them first.
What is Suya?
Beef suya is Nigerian street food featuring grilled beef skewers seasoned with ground peanuts and spices. Suya actually refers to the seasoning mix which typically includes the aforementioned ground peanuts, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili pepper. The flavor is complex and the aroma is strong but pleasant. Heat levels vary depending on the cook, but the depth of flavor is consistent and is the draw that will make you overeat if you’re not careful.
How easy is it to make beef suya?
This is an easy, no fuss recipe. It’s actually fairly low involved. If you have a knife, blender, and grill you’re good to go. Skewering the meat is the only real work involved in this recipe. Beyond that you’ll need to slice the beef and blend the seasoning mix, rub, grill and eat!
What is the best beef for suya?
For this recipe I used sirloin. It’s a great cut to use as it’s easy to slice thinly. The key is to use a tender cut that can hold up to high heat grilling. Flat-iron and ribeyes are cuts that would do well also.
Does the suya spice work with other foods?
Traditional recipes call for beef, but the seasoning works just as well with chicken. I’m currently entertaining ideas for my next soya recipe. Who knows, maybe it will be recipes for popcorn or lobster. Stay tuned!
Beef Suya Cooking Tips
- Soak the skewers ahead of time so that they don’t burn when cooking
- Target beef slice sizes somewhere between a Greek kebab (chunky) and Vietnamese satay (thin)
- Salt the beef ahead of time to make them more receptive to the flavors from the spice mix
- Heat is a required as you’ll need it to balance against the peanut flavor. However, do adjust the seasoning to your preferred level.
- The brown sugar in the recipe helps achieve that caramelization on the beef when grilling. This is next level flavor stuff and also adds that sexy visual appeal
If you make these delicious crowd pleasing Nigerian beef suya skewers please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
For another global meat skewers recipe try these Peruvian chicken skewers.
Nigerian Beef Suya
- 1½ lbs top Sirloin Steak Sliced into ½ inch thick cuts
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup UNSALTED DRY-ROASTED Peanuts
- 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsps light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup Canola oil
- 1 lime juiced
Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ginger, salt, sugar, and pepper; pulse to combine.
Place 3/4 of the spice mix in a large mixing bowl. Reserve a quarter of the mixture and set aside for later.
Add half the oil to the mixing bowl to create a paste. Mix thoroughly using your hands.
Season beef with salt and let sit for half an hour
Combine beef with the peanut mixture and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
Soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 450°F). Using the remaining oil dampen a paper towels and brush the grate with it.
Thread beef onto skewers. Grill, turning once or twice, until lightly charred and nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter; squeeze lime juice onto skewers. Serve with sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber.
If beef slices are too thick, feel free to pound them flatter and cut as necessary.