Arrosticini from Abruzzo


Arrosticini are a traditional skewer in the Southeastern Italian region of Abruzzo – and can be likened to a religion for those of us from there! Prepared from sheep, these spectacular skewers stand on their own without any extra spices or seasonings – especially when made correctly!

This recipe was created with advice from Gabriele Pompa, a third-generation master butcher from Abruzzo who has preserved the tradition of preparing the most flavorful arrosticini for a truly authentic Italian experience. Believe me when I say that he knows what he’s doing – preparing over 700 thousand arrosticini each year!



Watch the Arrosticini video recipe here:



How to make ARROSTICINI Like a Butcher from Abruzzo

Arrosticini from Abruzzo

Vincenzo’s Plate Tips



Choose Sheep – NOT Lamb!

When making arrosticini, you absolutely must use sheep meat. Lamb isn’t going to cut it. This is because lamb isn’t mature enough to have the right taste. Sheep fat is also better tasting and the meat is more consistent, tastier, and healthier. Why? Because sheep contain the right amount of protein, potassium, and mineral salts required to caramelize the meat. While lamb is about 5 months old, sheep is anywhere from 4 to 6 years old.



Check the Fat Content

A proper blend of fat and muscly or lean meat is needed to give arrosticini the incredible combination of flavour they’re so well-known for. Make sure to use 1/3 fat and 2/3 meat.

how to make arrosticini like a butcher


Use a Cubo Box

Technically you can prepare arrosticini by hand, but this takes a lot more time and artisan craftsmanship. I strongly recommend buying a Cubo box. Not only will this help you make the best arrosticini, but you can also use the Cubo to easily prepare fruit skewers and other meat skewers.



Work by Hand

Gabrielle Pompa emphasizes the importance of working by hand when preparing sheep meat for arrosticini. You need to feel where the meat is most tender and to recognize where nerves and leathery pieces must be cut out and removed. This is going to give you the best taste and no doubt your local butcher can help if you’re unsure.



Always Grill It

I don’t care what anyone tells you – arrosticini can NOT be cooked in an oven! You need to use a fornacella or other charcoal grill for an authentic Italian taste. Using a fornacella is the most traditional way to make this dish and it is the perfect size for arrosticini. They can be purchased online, so no excuses!
Arrosticini recipe



How to Serve Arrosticini

Because arrosticini are cooked on bamboo skewers, you don’t need to do much of anything to dig in and enjoy your masterpiece. You’ll simply bite into the sheep meat directly off the skewer. Be sure to take bites from the side so that you can take in the taste of different cuts of meat at once. Perfection!
How to make arrosticini
Arrosticini recipe

Arrosticini from Abruzzo

Arrosticini, or sheep skewers, are a traditional dish from Abruzzo. Each arrosticini is rich in flavour and incredible in texture. Experience the authentic flavour of arrosticini with these cooking tips from a third-generation master butcher from Abruzzo!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12


  • 1 Butcher knife
  • 1 Chopping-board
  • 1 Cubo box
  • Bamboo skewers
  • 1 Filet knife
  • 1 Fornacella or another grill
  • Coal


  • Sheep Meat cuts from various parts of the body with 1/3 fat intact
  • Salt as much as required


To Prepare the Meat

  • Choose quality cuts of various parts of the sheep, including shoulder, neck, belly, thigh etc.
  • Take care to work with your hands and cut out any nerves or leathery parts. If a butcher is preparing your meat, choose a butcher who works by hand.
  • Cut in the direction of the meat to create slices at least 1.5 cm thick.
  • Save pieces of fat for extra flavour.

To Prepare the Arrosticini (With Cubo)

  • Place the thickest cuts of your sheep into the bottom of the Cubo as a base.
  • Layer a row of fatty meat on top of the base then conntinue filling the Cubo, row by row, alternating between lean meat, fat, muscle, etc.
  • Use your lean meat for the final row then place the lid of the Cubo on top, pressing down firmly.
  • Place the Cubo and meat into a cooler/fridge until it reaches 3°C/ 37.4°F.

To Prepare the Arrosticini (By Hand)

  • Place a thick cut of sheep onto a bamboo skewer, then create layers of various cuts of meat, alternating between fatty and lean.
  • Place the leanest meat on the final row.

To Cook the Arrosticini

  • Remove the chilled meat from your refrigerator or cooler and insert bamboo skewers into each hole of the Cubo lid.
  • Use a filet knife to cut squares around each skewer, using the grooves of the Cubo as a guide.
  • Turn the Cubo sideways and gently pull to remove the arrosticini.
  • Line each arrosticini up on top of your fornacella or grill and cook over the coals.
  • Sprinkle a very small amount of salt on the arrosticini and rotate them after about 2-3 minutes. Total cooking time is 5 minutes (add a few more minutes for arrosticini prepared by hand).
  • Do not overcook. You don’t want to lose the flavour and burn them!

Enjoying Arrosticini

  • No need to add any herbs or spices, as the sheep packs an incredible flavour!
  • Bite into the skewer from the side to enjoy the amazing flavour combination.
  • E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate....Enjoy!


Keyword meat on a stick
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

arrosticini abruzzesi

E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate… Enjoy!

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