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Spicy Chinese Beef Skewers (Niu Rou Chuan)

4 Servings

45 minutes

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Street vendors in China sell sizzling skewers of meat hot off the grill, rich with cumin and chilies. Some of the heady spice mixture goes onto the beef just before cooking; the rest is sprinkled on at the end. To make lamb skewers instead of beef, called yang rou chuan, substitute boneless lamb shoulder or leg; make sure to slice the meat against the grain. Though these are typically enjoyed as a snack, if served with some steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables, the skewers make a satisfying dinner.




Don’t trim the fat from the beef before cooking. The fat adds flavor and helps keep the meat succulent. If you're using a gas grill, make sure to give it at least 10 to 15 minutes to heat before cooking the skewers. This ensures the meat gets a nice surface char without overcooking the interior.

45 minutes


  • pounds beef flat iron steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-inch-thick strips

  • 1

    tablespoon dry sherry or Shaoxing wine


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Sarah T.
August 25, 2023
Worth the work upfront
A little bit of work prepping the rub, but well worth it, and since cooking time is so short, this can fall into the category of a weeknight meal (esp if you can prep the spice mixture ahead of time). We had it with grilled broccoli and rice and it was superb.
David V.
July 30, 2022
I made this!
I made this recipe two times, first time the spice mixture was a bit too coarse and the second time much finer. I like the flavor of the much finer spice mixture because it was easier to chew on. Great flavors the addition of the chili oil perfect! This was a fun barbecued item. I had them all prepped took them to a friends house and barbecue them over there. They loved it. Keep up the good work