Madeira Beef and Bay Leaf Kebabs (Espetada)

Lynn Dine


This is a recipe from "The Barbecue Bible!" by Steven Raichlen. This recipe is very common to the Island of Madeira, Portugal. Many restaurants have special inverted L-shaped metal pole in which they will hang these kebabs from and the drippings from the meat will drip down into a bowl that has Portuguese bread in it, to collect the juices.


★★★★★ 1 vote

15 Min
15 Min


  • 1 1/2 lb
    beef tenderloin or 1 1⁄2 lbs boneless sirloin
  • 1/4 c
    extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c
    red wine vinegar
  • 1
    onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c
    chopped fresh italian parsley
  • 4 clove
    garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    ground black pepper
  • 12
    bay leaves

How to Make Madeira Beef and Bay Leaf Kebabs (Espetada)


  1. Trim any sinews or excess fat from the beef; cut meat into 2-inch cubes.
    In a large baking dish, combine the oil, vinegar, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.
    Add in the beef and toss thoroughly to coat.
    Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to high.
  3. Remove the beef and bay leaves from the marinade and thread onto the skewers dividing the bay leaves among the kebabs. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate.
    Arrange the kebabs on the grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the meat is cooked to taste, 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare.
    Baste the espetadas with any excess marinade, but not during the last 3 minutes.
  4. Serve the espetadas on or off the skewers on slices/chunks of Portuguese bread for soaking up the juices.

Printable Recipe Card

About Madeira Beef and Bay Leaf Kebabs (Espetada)

Course/Dish: Steaks and Chops
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Portugese

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