Nigerian Suya Beef Kebabs are a popular West African street food recipe made from skewered, marinated, and grilled meat.
It's a spicy African delicacy that can be prepared with just a few basic ingredients. Simply tenderize the beef steak, slice it into thin strips, and thread them onto kebab sticks.
Then, marinate the meat with an assortment of spices and seasonings. We have included various cooking methods such as traditional grilling or BBQ, air frying, baking in an oven or even pan-frying.
It has gained widespread popularity across the Northern Nigeria region (where suya originated) and is enjoyed by many all over Africa. Skewers typically are made from beef, but sometimes chicken, goat or innards such as kidney or liver are used instead.
Use the links below to learn what you want to know to make your own suya beef kebabs at home.
Suya is a must-try for anyone exploring the diverse range of cuisine in West Africa.
We have chosen to make beef suya marinated with the following ingredients. We have given suitable substitutions below.Jump to the full recipe card here
We have used sirloin steak (the short loin for our American followers), a naturally lean cut, fantastic for beef kebabs.
You can use other lean cuts of beef suitable for fast cooking, such as rump, ribeye, flank or skirt steak. Of course, the choice of cut ultimately comes down to personal preference and availability in your area.
Use a mallet to make the steak into thin strips suitable for threading (more advice is given below).
As mentioned, you could substitute beef for the kebab with chicken, goat, kidney or liver.
The seasoning for Suya is a blend of spices which differ from region to region. The seasoning typically includes a mixture of ground-roasted peanuts, ground ginger, garlic powder, paprika, chilli powder / cayenne pepper, onion powder and salt.
There is a company on amazon that make the suya spice mix. MamaShee Suya Yaji for a good price which included free prime shipping.
We tried the hot version, which was lovely and spicy, but although peanut was shown in the picture it was not in the ingredients.
Groundnut oil helped to give that nutty taste. Or if you have roasted peanuts you could ground some to make your own peanut powder to add to it.
Having looked again they also have a mild suya powder version that does include peanuts. So another option, simply add some chilli powder, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for extra spice for a more authentic suya?
Homemade Suya Seasoning
To make your own suya seasoning spice mix, you will need the following ingredients. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of ground roasted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon of chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of white pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
Any leftovers can be stored in a glass mason jar, ready to sprinkle on other meats.
In this suya recipe, we used groundnut oil, also known as peanut oil. It is a popular cooking oil due to its high smoke point and slightly nutty flavour.
You can use other suitable oils instead, such as sunflower, vegetable oil or canola oil.
We like to crumble in a chicken stock cube, a concentrated form of chicken stock, and try to buy a low-sodium version to prevent the seasoning from being too salty.
We added a little extra garlic to the seasoning mix but this is optional. Garlic powder is a spice made from dehydrated garlic cloves ground into a fine powder. YOu could use onion powder instead.
Or look at other spices you can add to your suya spice mix to make it your own. Most marinade blends contain salt already so we don't add any more salt.
To make suya beef kebabs, you will need some basic kitchen equipment. Firstly, you will need wooden sticks (or metal skewers) to thread the beef strips onto to create the kebabs.
A meat mallet or rolling pin is also needed to tenderise and flatten the steak. You'll also need a baking tray with a rack to cook the kebabs on and, optionally, some foil to line the tray for easier cleanup. A silicone brush for oiling the meat, and a plate big enough for the suya kebabs to roll in the seasoning.
The full instructions and measurements are on the recipe card with step-by-step pictures.Jump to Recipe
Here is a quick run-through of the steps to make suya beef kebabs; start by soaking wooden sticks in water.
Then preheat your oven to 180°C Fan /200°C / 400 F / Gas mark 6.
How to use a meat mallet
Using a meat mallet to tenderise and flatten the steak process is simple. First, place the steak on a clean cutting board or work surface. Then, using the dimpled side of the meat mallet, gently pound the steak, apply even pressure, then switch to the flat side until it is flattened to your desired thickness.
Be careful not to overdo it, making the meat fall apart.
If you don't have a meat mallet, you can use a fork to pierce it all over before tenderizing it with a rolling pin. This will help break down any connective tissue in the meat and ensure it cooks evenly.
Once you have finished tenderising and flattening the steak, remove the fat and it's ready for slicing into small strips for making suya beef kebabs!
Slice the thin steak into small strips and thread beef onto kebab sticks.
Brush the beef with oil and mix suya seasoning with garlic powder and chicken stock cube.
Flatten the seasoning on a large plate and marinate each beef kebab skewer by dipping and into the seasoning. Rub with your fingers to ensure they are well coated.
Place the kebabs on a rack inside a baking tray (you can line it with foil for easier clean up), coat them with oil again.
Cooking Time ⏲
We cook these kebabs in the oven but we have also given you timings for other cooking methods below.
Now cook in the oven for 12 minutes at 180°C Fan /200°C / 400 F / Gas mark 6, turning once halfway through cooking time.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve hot. Enjoy your delicious homemade suya beef kebabs!
You could cook these beef kebabs skewers on a grill or bbq instead.
Preheat your Grill / BBQ to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Place the skewers on the racks and cook for about 8 minutes, occasionally turning until browned and cooked to your liking.
Place skewers into the air fryer and cook at 200°C/ 400°F for 5-6 minutes. Check if done to your liking and cook longer if desired.
Cook beef kebabs in a frying pan or skillet for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Serving Suggestions 🍽
Serve your Beef Suya with sliced red onions and a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaf (cilantro).
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Suya Beef Kebabs
- 450 grams Sirloin Steak
- 1 cube Chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon Groundnut oil
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 4 tablespoon Suya Seasoning (see notes for how to make your own)
- Soak wooden sticks in water. Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan /200°C / 400 F / Gas mark 6.
- Use a meat mallet to tenedrise and flatten the steak. You can use other heavy objects (such as a rolling pin) to create the same effect450 grams Sirloin Steak
- Slice the thin steak into small strips.
- Thread onto kebab sticks.
- Brush on the oil2 tablespoon Groundnut oil
- Make the suya seasoning adding garlic powder chicken stock cube mixing together1 cube Chicken stock, ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder, 4 tablespoon Suya Seasoning
- Flatten seasoning on a large plate
- Coat the beef with the seasoning. Use your hands to help make sure beef is well coated with seasoning.
- Place on a rack inside a baking tray (we line the tray with foil for a easier clean up)
- Coat with oil again and place in oven 180°C Fan /200°C / 400 F / Gas mark 6 and cook for 12 minutes.
- Turn halfway through cooking.
- See notes for other cooking methods like BBQ, Air fryer, Grill and Oven
- Serve with a side salad of red onion, tomato,cabbage and cucumber
Other Cooking MethodsHere's a list of cooking times for Nigerian Suya Beef Kebabs using different methods.
OvenOven bake for 12 minutes at 180°C Fan /200°C / 400 F / Gas mark 6
BBQ or GrillBBQ beef kebabs for 8 minutes, turning halfway.
Air Fryer:Cook at 200°C/400°F for 5-6 minutes
Pan fryFry for 4-5 minutes on each side
Storage Advice 🧊
Suya beef kebabs should be stored in an airtight container, wrapped in cling film, and placed in the fridge. They should be consumed within two days of making them.
You can freeze the beef kebabs for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Make sure the meat has thawed before reheating. Cover with foil to prevent drying out the already-cooked meat. Place in a preheated oven at 180°C fan / 200°C / 400°F /Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes to heat through.
Another quicker method is to reheat the beef skewers in a microwave, place them on to a microwave-safe plate and heat them on high for 30 seconds, and turn and heat them for a further 30 seconds. Repeat if necessary.
You could reheat the Suya beef kebabs on the BBQ over medium-high heat until lightly charred.
More Kebab Recipes
Kebabs are a versatile and delicious dish that can be made with a variety of meats, vegetables and seasonings. Here are some kebab recipes you might want to try.