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West African Steak Kabobs

January 13, 2021

Four kabobs with onion, red pepper and steak are laid out on a metal pan covered with parchment, while a wooden bowl of salt and a ketchup bottle are nearby.

A dish can do more than make a meal: It can tell our story. This recipe for West African Steak Skewers is a tiny window into Brian and Grace’s, dramatically complete with a chance meeting, a long-distance courtship, a deadly outbreak, and a cross-cultural engagement. Brian is a longtime member of the Primal Kitchen team (you might recognize him from our recipe videos), and along with his wife’s recipe for African Skewers, he shared the incredible story of how they met.

Brian was volunteering, teaching filmmaking in Sierra Leone, where he met Grace. They were working on a film festival together, traveling and screening films on large projectors in small villages across the country. When Brian returned stateside, they grew even closer over emails and Skype calls, but were kept apart by a fatal Ebola outbreak in West Africa that affected Grace’s community. As soon as travel was permitted, Brian returned to Sierra Leone to cement his connection with Grace, against the concern of his family, who were worried about the severity of the virus. Within weeks, the new couple decided to proceed with a traditional engagement ceremony, and Grace returned with Brian on a K-1 fiancé visa.

A woman in a colorful top stands in front of wooden cabinets, with a pan, clear mixing bowls, a bottle of avocado oil and ketchup and onions are on the counter in front of her.

A marriage and two children later, Grace’s recipe proves to be a metaphor for their cross-continental love story. In her West African peanut sauce, she swaps in Ketchup, a decidedly American condiment, for the tomato paste, making a cultural mash-up of traditional fare. Grace’s recipe for African kabobs is vibrant as their story, bursting with flavorful details that unite their two backgrounds in a shared dish. Grace and Brian shared that these beef skewers are a big hit with their children, and at neighborhood BBQs, due in part to the African Peanut Sauce (peanut butter is a staple ingredient in West African cuisine, known as “ground nut”).

Four West African Steak Kabobs lay on a pan lined with parchment next to an avocado oil bottle, ketchup bottle and small wooden bowl of salt.

More About Sierra Leone Cuisine

Cooking a dish like these West African Beef Skewers is an easy way to capture the relatively authentic taste of Sierra Leone Cuisine. If you’re looking to incorporate more hallmarks of West African cooking into your meals, Brian and Grace filled us in. When it comes to meat, “nose-to-tail” is the norm, eating plenty of offal, skin and bones, along with organic, farm-fresh produce. Along with fresh and smoked seafood, you’ll also find lots of stews made from chopped, leafy greens served over white rice on the menu. You’ll notice a hefty serving of cayenne in this African Kabob seasoning—the palate skews to spicy.

West African Steak Kabobs Recipe

Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings (4 kabobs)


  • 1 lb. of sirloin steak

For the seasoning:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the Peanut Sauce:

For the Skewers:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper

A hand holds a clear bowl with the steak cubes covered in the orange sauce, on a wooden cutting board. A ketchup bottle is in the background.


  • Cut your steak into bite-sized pieces and place into a bowl.
  • Season the cut steak with the salt, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the salt, ginger, and peanut butter with a spoon. Add the Avocado Oil, and then the ketchup. Continue to combine until creamy.
  • Cut your onion into four pieces. Take each individual fourth, and cut in half, then set aside.
  • Cut the red pepper into small pieces, roughly the same size as the steak pieces.
  • Add the steak to the peanut butter sauce, coating each piece of steak generously in the sauce.
  • Assemble the kabob sticks, alternating between a slice of onion, a piece of pepper, and a piece of steak.
  • Place the skewers on the BBQ and grill for 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition Info (per serving):

Calories: 740

Carbs: 25g

Fat: 51g

Protein: 50g

Nutritional information via Cronometer.

Related Recipes:

You might also enjoy these recipes: whether you’re on a grilling kick or have leftover beef to spare.


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