What Do Kebab Shops Do with the Meat Overnight?

Have you ever wondered just what kebab shops do with those giant rotisseries of kebab meat late at night? How do you store something like that? How long does it stay safely edible? Just what are the kebab shop owner’s options for storing kebab meat overnight?

Kebab shops are a big hit in many locations throughout the United States and Europe – and those aren’t even the locations where the kebab originated! Known among many foodies for their delicious and tender grilled (or roasted) meat, which always tastes great, especially with fresh pita bread and toppings when served after you’ve had a few drinks after a late night pub crawl.

Many people wonder how these establishments handle and store their meat overnight, ensuring it stays fresh and maintains its quality for the next day’s service. This is an important aspect of food safety and also impacts the taste and texture of the kebabs.

Most kebab stores will want to use fresh meat whenever possible. However, kebab meat should be frozen and stored in a freezer until it’s ready to be cooked. Even meat that has been prepared will most often be stored in a walk-in cooler, refrigerator, or walk-in freezer for one day after preparation. If the entire kebab hasn’t been eaten at that point it can no longer be served in most places and must be replaced by a fresh one.

Kebabs have a maximum serve time of two days when properly stored and cooked. After two days a new kebab sausage roll must be placed on the vertical rotisserie to ensure freshness and safety of meat.

This means if the unused kebab meat is one day old, it will be frozen and likely served next day if there is a lot left. If it is two or more days old, then most health codes would require it to be disposed of at that point.

Though if the kebab shop owner sliced off the remaining meat for use at home, no one could blame them!

So what are the rules for proper handling of kebab meat, and why are there such limits on storage? Let’s dive into these questions and more so you know all there is to know about this topic.

meat being sliced off kebab
If a new kebab needs to be put on after mid-day, chances are there will be leftovers that night…so what to do, what to do?

Kebab Shops and Overnight Meat Storage

There’s nothing wrong with reusing the meat the next day, especially if the overnight storage was done properly to make sure the kebab meat was either cool enough, or heated enough on the spitz, to make it healthy.

So what type of things do Kebab shop owners need to think about when dealing with properly storing kebab meat and


Kebab shops typically handle large amounts of raw meat and ingredients, which need to be stored properly overnight to ensure food safety and prevent bacterial growth. One of the essential equipment needed for a kebab shop is a refrigerator or freezer to store the raw meat and other ingredients. These appliances help maintain the freshness and quality of the food.

It’s vital for kebab shops to store meat at appropriate temperatures, typically below 5°C (41°F), to prevent the growth of bacteria. This practice ensures that the meat stays in the best condition, which is crucial for providing safe and delicious kebabs the following day.

Temperature Control

Proper temperature control is necessary not only for raw meat storage but also for cooked kebab meat. Many kebab shops use bain-maries, specialized pans for storing cooked food, to keep the cooked and sliced kebab meat at a safe temperature of around 63°C (146°F) link to.

When re-heating part-used doner kebabs, kebab shops must ensure that the meat reaches a temperature above 75°C (167°F) to maintain food safety link to. Furthermore, any leftover cooked kebab meat should be discarded at the end of the day as a food safety precaution.

In summary, kebab shops rely on refrigeration, temperature control, and proper handling practices to store meat safely overnight and serve high-quality kebabs to their customers the following day. These practices are essential for maintaining food safety and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

Proper Handling and Preparation Techniques

The proper overnight storage of cooked kebab meat isn’t the only factor when keeping all the ingredients not only safe for customers, but also delicious to keep up the hard earned positive reputation many of the best kebab houses enjoy.

Preventing Cross Contamination

There’s a reason many of our readers have had questions about whether Kebabs have dairy or not, or “Do kebabs have nuts?” not to mention all the questions on if Kebabs have other food ingredients that can often cause allergy issues. Many don’t, but cross contamination can be an issue, especially if multiple types of dishes are prepared in the same area.

Kebab shops prioritize food safety to ensure that the meat is in good shape, fresh, and that problems like bacteria or spoiled meat don’t pop up because of improper handling, cross contamination, or improper storage. Health inspections are done to make sure that kebab shops are up to code and if you are unfortunate enough to be in an area where the kebab shop fails inspection, find another one. There are so many great kebab shops that there’s no reason to take a chance with a bad one.

Good shops whether in full restaurant form, a corner shop, or a food truck form should make sure that servers and cooks use separate cutting boards, knives, and utensils for raw meat and vegetables. Seafood and peanuts should never be mixed with any other dishes (both food and utensils) and all proper precautions need to be taken for safety’s sake.

Proper Reheating

Kebab shops often have leftover meat from the previous day’s operations, which requires proper handling and reheating before serving. When the meat that had been properly refrigerated is put back in the standing rotisserie and given a few hours (often with spritzing spray to help keep the meat moist) but after it has been stored overnight once, it should not be used again.

It’s also important that the refrigerator was appropriately set at less than 40°F to slow the rate of decay or bacteria growth. Once reheated, the internal section of the kebab must climb back up to at least 165 degrees F to be considered safe once again.

There’s no denying that kebabs are delicious but that’s part of the reason why going through the proper steps to makes sure the reheated kebab meat is indeed safe for customers like you to eat.

Different Types of Kebabs and Their Ingredients

Again, it’s worth noting that different styles of kebabs are going to use different ingredients, different cooking methods, and different preparation methods. Understanding these differences can also change the answer as to how meat is stored overnight, how leftover ingredients are handled, or if everything is started anew from scratch each and every single day.

Doner Kebab

The Doner Kebab is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from minced meat, usually lamb or beef, seasoned with spices like cumin and coriander. The meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie, then thinly sliced and served in a wrap or bread with various toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

These are among the most popular kebabs and are famous for the giant upright rotisseries that meat is sliced from before being placed with toppings in pita bread or a pita bread like filling to create a great meal.

Shish Kebab

Shish Kebab is a well-known kebab variety of kebabs and are what most people think of when they think of “skewered kebabs.” These kebabs feature skewered chunks of marinated meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb.

The skewers, traditionally made of iron skewers or wooden skewers (though most “wood” skewers are made with bamboo now), are then grilled on a BBQ, and the kebabs are often served with rice, bread, or salads depending on the area and tradition.

Beef, Chicken, and Lamb Kebabs

Beef kebabs are commonly prepared using cuts like beef tenderloin, sirloin, or top sirloin steak. They are marinated in various spices and herbs before grilling. Chicken kebabs typically use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, marinated and skewered alongside vegetables. Lamb kebabs feature tender cuts of lamb, seasoned and grilled for a delicious, flavorful meal.

Meat TypeCutMarinade
BeefTenderloin, sirloin, top sirloin steakSpices, herbs
ChickenBoneless, skinless breasts or thighsVarious seasonings
LambTender cutsSeasoning
FishSeasoned and possibly friedBatter based seasoning, pepper

Seafood Kebabs

Seafood kebabs offer a lighter alternative to meat-based options, featuring fish, shrimp, or scallops, skewered with vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. In some places, like the Midwest, it’s not unusual to see shrimp or scallops put on the skewers with traditional meats, vegetables, and mushrooms all together like it is one kebab.

In fact, this is a common occurrence at many grill outs, especially when there was a sale at the local market. These are made some day and eaten, and should be finished up at the cookout, especially since long times outdoors do not make for the best food storage care conditions.

Whether you prefer the traditional Doner Kebab, or prefer healthier alternatives like Shish Kebabs and vegetable skewers, there’s a kebab option to suit everyone’s taste, and now you know all you need to know about overnight kebab meat storage.

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