Kebab Basics & Tips

D uring the grilling months, you can have an instant party by inviting over some friends and cooking kebabs. You and your friends can gather on the back patio and enjoy a drink while the kebabs are cooking away. Other than the fact that everyone likes hanging out by the grill, kebabs are a great social food because you can make a variety of kinds, they can be assembled ahead of time, and the kids can even get involved in the assembly. Kebabs also work well any night of the week, as they are a great way to clean out the refrigerator of any leftover bits of meat and vegetables.

Kebab Basics- Cooking Techniques –

Kebabs are cooked rather quickly and therefore should be made of more tender cuts of meat. Great choices are tenderloin or strip loin of beef, veal, pork, lamb, bison, or venison. Also, leg of lamb and duck breast are good options.

The meat should either be cut into equal sized cubes or cut into thin strips. Thread cubes onto wooden or metal skewers, leaving small gaps in between the pieces. These gaps will allow the pieces to cook more evenly. If using strips of meat, thread them onto the skewers using a weaving pattern. If using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least an hour before using, which will prevent them from catching on fire or charring excessively.

Kick up the flavor of your kebabs with a marinade or spice rub. Either season the meat before skewering or brush it on after the kebabs are assembled.

Vegetables can also be used for kebabs. Try using eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, or tomatoes. Because meat and vegetables cook at different rates, keep them on separate skewers.

Cook the kebabs on a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat. Rotate every few minutes to cook all sides evenly. Keep the lid on the grill closed as much as possible to retain the heat. Cook until the outside has nice grill marks and the meat is cooked to your liking.

During the colder months or if you experience an unexpected rain shower, you can cook up your kebabs inside. Using a grill pan indoors will still give you those desired grill marks. The kebab’s cook time on a grill pan will be about double compared to grilling outside. To speed the process a little, cover the kebabs loosely with a piece of foil while they are cooking to trap in the heat. Kebabs can also be cooked under a broiler. Turn the broiler on high and place the kebabs about 5 inches from the heating element. Rotate the kebabs periodically to ensure an even cooking.

Serve the kebabs over a mound of rice or couscous. For a utensil-free meal, wrap the meat and veggies in warm pita bread.