Get game on the BBQ this summer with Philippa Davis' Lebanese grilled venison koftas with tabbouleh salad

As the heatwave presses on, dining al fresco is the only way to feast. For an easy, game supper that works best on the BBQ, try Philippa Davis’ Lebanese grilled venison koftas with tabbouleh salad. Guests will appreciate the different meat, though be careful of overcooking.

For more ideas of game suppers suitable for BBQs, try our pigeon kebabs with hare and rosemary.


Venison is one of my favourite meats to barbecue. For most people it’s a pleasant change from the usual offerings and its deep, rich flavour lends itself perfectly to the smoke and chargrilled flavour of the coals. For koftas, you want a good amount of fat in the mince so try and get some made from shoulder joint. As with all game, be careful not to overcook it or leave it hanging around for too long once hot and ready to eat.

Tabbouleh should be a bright-green, herby salad with the occasional speck of bulgar wheat. Its freshness works well with grilled meat and it is definitely best served at room temperature.

  • 300g venison mince
  • ½ red onion, grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g lightly roasted pine nuts
  • 10g finely chopped parsley
  • 10g finely chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 skewers

For the tabbouleh

  • 40g bulgar wheat
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 spring onions, ends removed and finely chopped
  • 25g finely chopped parsley
  • 25g finely chopped coriander
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juice only

To serve

  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

To make the Koftas, in a bowl, mix all the ingredients together well, except for the olive oil, with a little freshly milled black pepper.

Form into four torpedo-shaped koftas around the skewers and leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

To make the tabbouleh, in a pan, simmer the bulgar wheat in the water until al dente – strain off any excess water.

In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients then add the bulgar wheat and season.

To serve, brush the koftas with the olive oil. On a medium heat, grill the koftas on all sides.

Serve straight away with the tabbouleh, yogurt and parsley.