Holy Ghost Skewered Beef (Carne Espeto)

Carne Espeto is essentially lightly spiced beef shish kabobs. Ask many a Portuguese person about it and you will get a long dissertation about wet vs. dry marinades, the annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, the smells of childhood, or Portuguese traditions and stories about a seafaring relative or a stoic grandmother. All that from a simple grilled meat which can be found at every Portuguese street festival, whether in Lisbon, or Rio de Janeiro, or Fall River Massachusetts. This recipe falls squarely on the dry marinade side of the debate. What’s not debatable, however, is how good these are.

Carne Espeto- Skewered Beef Kebabs

Mention Carne Espeto to a Portuguesa and you'll elicit sighs and memories of their youth eating these tasty shish kabobs during crowded street festivals. The simple marinade produces a gentle-but-flavorful grilled bite. If you'd like, marinated and skewer onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. at the same time, each on their own individual skewers.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: BBQ, Lunch, Main Course, Street Food
Cuisine: Brazil, Portuguese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Dry marinate: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Metal skewers or soaked wood skewers


  • 3 lb Sirloin beef tips
  • 1/4 cup Kosher or sea salt
  • cup Granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • ¼ cup Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Red pepper flakes or Cayenne pepper


  • In a large plastic freezer bag, mix together salt, both peppers, and garlic. Cut beef into 1½-inch cubes. Add beef cube to the spices and massage to ensure all the cubes are covered. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight.
  • Thread meat cubes onto skewers leaving ½-inch between pieces. Lightly coat any vegetables you might want to grill with olive oil, salt & pepper. Thread each vegetable on its own skewer to allow for different cooking times.
  • Grill over hot coals, gas or a grill pan placed on a stovetop. Cook skewers on all 4 sides for 2 minutes per side. Check one to see if it is done to your liking. Remove to a serving platter, laying them on top rice or flat bread, if desired. Remove vegetables from fire as they are done cooking; tomatoes first and onions last. Add those to plate with meat.


  • Good grilling vegetables for grilling with these beef kabobs might be onions cut vertically into 8 wedges, cherry tomatoes, whole mushrooms, sliced zucchini and red bell pepper.
  • Good quality meat is important here.


Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 1343mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 7mg

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