Easy grilled lamb sosaties prepared in a curry marinade and fired over high heat. This South African braai classic uses boneless leg of lamb, dried apricots, and spices to create an unreal flavor combination.
These lamb sosaties epitomize everything we love about fire-cooked meat skewers. The South African braai classic matches cubes of succulent lamb with a fruit-based marinade for the perfect blend of spice and sweetness.
The good news is that even if you don’t have an outdoor braai at home, this dish is easy to replicate on any backyard grill. Simply marinate them overnight before skewering and firing them over coals for just fifteen minutes.
From preparing the lamb skewers to making our own homemade apricot jam sauce, discover how to make lamb sosaties today. Let’s get grilling!
What are South African Sosaties?
South African sosaties are meat skewers that are first marinated in a spice or fruit-based sauce before being cooked over coals on a braai. Although typically made with cubes of lamb, they can also be made with beef or chicken.
While a staple of South African braai cuisine, sosaties actually have their origins in Cape Malay cooking. In fact, thanks to their shared Afrikaans language and culture, the food of Cape Malay people has informed a lot of South African cuisine, with sosaties being one of the most beloved dishes of them all.
The word comes from sate (an Indonesian word for skewered meat) and saus (the Indonesian and Afrikaans word for sauce), which describes these marinated kebabs perfectly: Marinated meat that’s skewered before cooked over fire.
Sosaties can be made from any meat of your choosing, but the most popular options in South Africa are usually lamb and chicken – although you’ll also sometimes find beef, ostrich, or even wild game meat, like impala or springbok, used. In the summer months when fish braais become popular, you can also find marinated cubes of meaty fish like kingklip (similar to monkfish) cooked over the coals.
Much like the meat, the flavors are also totally up to you. If you stick to something original, then a curry marinade is the way to go. Curry spices will be mixed with a sweet flavor like tamarind or apricot jam to create a sticky, spiced sauce to coat the sosaties.
One of the most popular flavors is probably lemon and herb, it’s mild and comforting, and goes with just about anything. If you want to create a stir at your BBQ then you’ll have to make a monkey gland sauce, the ingredients are nowhere near as controversial as they sound (it’s really just a BBQ sauce made from ketchup and Worcestershire sauce) and the name is bound to get people talking!
For this recipe, we’ve used boneless leg of lamb, which we have cut into cubes for skewering. We then marinate them in a homemade apricot jam sauce, before cooking on the braai or grill in just fifteen minutes.
How to Make Lamb Sosaties
Making homemade lamb sosaties couldn’t be easier. While you’ll need to marinate them the night before in our homemade apricot sauce, the final results make the effort well worth it.
- Make the marinade by gently heating onion, garlic, and spices together in a small pan, before then adding apricot jam and vinegar.
- Arrange the diced lamb and dried apricots on the skewers
- Allow the marinade to cool completely, before then pouring over the skewers in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Leave to marinate overnight.
- Braai or grill the lamb sosaties over medium-high heat, until crisp, sticky, and cooked through. You can arrange them individually on the grill grates, but we find placing them in a grill basket helps to save time.
What to Serve With Sosaties
Sosaties can be served like kebabs alongside the usual sides of grilled vegetables or potato salads, or guests can just pick them up and nibble at them as an appetizer. You could also make smaller versions to be served at parties, making for a great canape.
However, one of the best ways to enjoy them is in a sosatie roll. Simply slice a hot dog bun, add the sauces of your choice (mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce always work well), and then fill it with your sosatie meat.
Times & Temperatures
As with any braai or barbecued meat, the temperature is key to perfectly cooked sosaties. You want to make sure they’ve taken on a golden brown hue on the outside but are still juicy within. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, 400°F (205°C) is the perfect temperature to grill them at.
Lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (62°C), as per the USDA’s guidance. These lamb sosaties should cook in about 15 minutes, and will need to be turned regularly.
If you want to try and braai like a real South African, you can use wood or charcoal to cook over. You’ll want to wait until the flames have died down and then cook over indirect heat for 15 minutes, turning regularly.
The coals will be the right temperature to cook over when you can hold your hand over them for 10 seconds (if you have to pull your hand away before, then they’re too hot, if you can comfortably leave it there for longer then they’ve cooled too much).
- Cooking the sosaties in a grill grid or basket will make it easy to flip them all at the same time, saving the time needed to individually turn each one.