Skip to Content

"let the wind blow" Nigerian beef suya recipe

Sharing is caring!

juneteenth banner

As part of this year's Juneteenth celebration, I've collaborated with several other amazing black food bloggers for a Juneteenth Cookout Takeover.  My contribution is this easy to make West African beef suya skewers recipe seasoned with the most incredible peanut based spice mix for a show-off worthy party appetizer or insatiable main dish. 

Like all the contributions to the Cook-out, my dish is celebratory in recognition of Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery (June 19, 1865) two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation when word finally got to the last enslaved people in Texas.

This Cookout initiative was created to celebrate liberation as well as to amplify the food traditions of black culinary creatives.

It's summertime and that means grilling out! If you're looking for a new, delicious grilled dish to add to your repertoire, look no further than Nigerian beef suya skewers.

This African street food is easy to make and perfect for a summer BBQ. Plus, it's bound to impress your guests with its unique flavor profile. So fire up the grill and give these skewers a try!

These beef suya skewers are a delicious and easy way to enjoy Nigerian street food at home. The beef is marinated in a spicy peanut sauce, then grilled over high heat for a perfect char.

Juneteenth (June + 19th) is the oldest national celebration of the ending of slavery. And for over 150 years since, Black American families, home-cooks, chefs, and culinarians have commemorated the summer holiday with a wide range of food traditions from across the African diaspora that tell a story of the perseverance of a people. For a great discussion on the hyper-relevance of Juneteenth, particularly today, check out this Vox article on the importance of America celebrating Juneteenth.
 
 
skewers of beef topped with red and green onions as well as suya spice

Beats and Eats (music to pair with Beef Suya)

The music of Fertile Ground is highly spiritual. I listen and immediately feel a connection that goes beyond the beat and melody. Such is also the experience to eating really really good beef suya. Enjoy a few skewers, crack open a cold one, and just "let the wind blow!"

What is Beef Suya?

If you are interested in developing Nigerian recipes, start with Beef suya. It 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, brown sugar, 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.

It is often served with white rice or couscous, and sometimes topped with onions, tomatoes, and scotch bonnet peppers.

What Ingredients Is Suya Made With?

The ingredient list is a short one. The suya spice blend drives the dish. For the peanuts go for unsalted and non-roasted. For the spice mix that accompanies the peanut butter, I go with garlic powder, ground ginger, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Dial the cayenne up or down depending on your heat preference.

  • Top Sirloin Steak Sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • DRY-ROASTED Peanuts unsalted
  • Smoked sweet paprika
  • Ground ginger
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Chicken bouillon powder
  • Canola oil
  • Lime Juice

Tip: Use the lime after grilling the skewers. They brighten the dish and help bring out the flavors.

beef suya ingredients on a tray

How to make beef suya skewers (step by step)?

step 1: Make the suya spice mix

Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ginger, kosher salt, sugar, bouillon, and pepper; pulse to combine.

Place ¾ of the spice mix in a large mixing bowl. Reserve a quarter of the mixture and set aside for later.

peanuts in a food processor
Puree unsalted, unroasted peanuts until smooth or if you prefer leave a little coarse.
ground peanuts in a food processor
after adding the spices, pulse the processor a few quick times to mix all the ingredients well.

step 2: make the suya paste

Add half the oil to the mixing bowl to create a paste. Mix thoroughly using your hands.

oil being added to bowl of spices
Place about ¾ of the suya spice mix in a bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Add half the oil to the suya mix.
hand mixing spice paste
Mix thoroughly using your hands or a whisk. Set the suya paste aside.

step 3: prepare the meat

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.

sa;ted pieces of beef
Season the beef strips well with a coarse salt like kosher salt. Let the beef sit for an hour refrigerated.
beef strips in peanut paste
Bring the beef and suya paste together and coat the beef well. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight if you have the time.
beef strips on wooden skewers
While the beef is marinating soak the skewers in water. Once beef is ready, thread the wooden skewers through the beef longways.

step 4: grill the beef

Thread the marinated 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.

Optionally, add remaining suya spice mix to the skewers. Serve with sliced red onions, tomato, and cucumber.

beef skewers cooking on the grill
Using either an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan, grill the skewers on high heat until lightly charred about 3 minutes per side.
beef suya skewers raw on pan

Suya Cooking Considerations and Tips

  • Soak the wooden skewers ahead of timeso that they don't burn when cooking
  • Target beef slice sizes somewhere between a Greek kebab (chunky) and Vietnamese satay (thin)
  • Salt the beef strips ahead of time to make them more receptive to the flavors from the spice mix
  • Be sure to use unsalted roasted peanuts for your suya spice blend
  • Some spice heat is 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 slices when grilling. This is next-level flavor stuff and also adds that sexy visual appeal
  • Dash the skewers with lime juice before serving
  • These are in regular rotation at our family barbecues. The skewers make great appetizers or can be served over a bed of jollof rice for dinner. Cucumber salad and even Southern potato salad go well with suya also.
  • Make these indoors by using a stovetop grill pan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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!

Tip: Slice you steak thinly. Thinner cuts will cook fast over high heat and remain tender.

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 skewers, but the seasoning works just as well with chicken as well as lamb and even duck. I'm currently entertaining ideas for my next suya recipe. Who knows, maybe it will be recipes for popcorn or lobster. Stay tuned!

How long will leftovers last?

Leftover suya can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Does the suya spice work with other foods?

Traditional recipes call for beef, but the seasoning works just as well with chicken as well as lamb. I'm currently entertaining ideas for my next suya recipe. Who knows, maybe it will be recipes for popcorn or lobster. Stay tuned!

For other similar recipes try:

Peruvian Chicken Skewers

Nigerian Shrimp Skewers

Blistered Shishito Peppers

This beef suya recipe is a delicious way to enjoy this dish from West Africa. The spice rub used in the recipe is common in many African countries, so you can experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavor profile. We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

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.

beef skewers topped with red and green onions

Nigerian Beef Suya

Nigerian street food featuring grilled beef skewers seasoned with ground peanuts, paprika, ginger, garlic, cayenne, and other spices.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
resting: 1 hour
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: African, nigerian
Servings: 6
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs top Sirloin Steak Sliced into ½ inch thick cuts
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup DRY-ROASTED Peanuts unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced

Instructions

  • Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ginger, salt, sugar, bouillon, and pepper; pulse to combine.
  • Place ¾ 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. Optionally, add remaining spice mix to the skewers. Serve with sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber.

Notes

  • If beef slices are too thick, feel free to pound them flatter and cut as necessary.
  • 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

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 3.7mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2.8mg
Subscribe To My YouTube ChannelSubscribe To My YouTube Channel for full length recipe videos. Click the bell icon to be notified when I post new videos.
My YouTube Channel
Tried this Recipe? Tag it Today!Mention @foodfidelity or tag #foodfidelity!

Sharing is caring!

Recipe Rating




35 Best Nigerian Food (Easy Nigerian Recipes) - IzzyCooking

Tuesday 15th of February 2022

[…] Suya (Spicy Grilled Kebabs): Tender strips of sirloin steak are skewered, generously seasoned and coated in finely chopped peanuts. Grill until slightly charred for an irresistible appetizer. […]

Janine

Sunday 28th of June 2020

Love this! Talk about flavor! Thank you so much for sharing.

Melanie

Monday 25th of May 2020

This looks so good and full of flavours! Bbq season here we come :)

Nicole

Monday 25th of May 2020

This would make an awesome appetizer!

Sam

Monday 25th of May 2020

Yum, these skewers look delicious! I love learning about new cuisines and trying different flavour combos. I will have to try these soon!