18 May Grill Some Damn Fine Shish Kebabs
Shish kebabs are a fun and painless way to grill a variety of meats and vegetables together – mixing flavors and catering to the taste buds of every single person at a picnic. For me, it’s an incentive to eat more foods that never had a mother by alternating chicken, bacon, beef, and pork with some peppers, onions, tomatoes, and even pineapples. There’s really no wrong way to arrange them, but here’s are some tips on grilling some damn fine shish kebabs.
Pick Your Ingredients
You can’t go wrong adding a variety of meats, vegetables, and fruits onto your shish kebab skewers. Most things that were once alive taste great after a good nap over an open flame. For meats, you can add small cuts of chicken, beef, pork, steak, sausage, lamb, venison, and definitely some bacon for additional flavor. Cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes (cherry, grape, or plum tomatoes), zucchini, squash, and mushrooms are some vegetables that can be added in. Good fruits for shish kebabs are pineapples, apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, and papaya. Seafood shish kebabs may include shrimp, salmon, lobster, mahi mahi, tuna or other fish with a firm rather than a flaky texture (so that it stays on the skewer).
Make sure to cut your ingredients to appropriate portions. For foods that grill faster, cut them into thicker slices or cubes. Keep meats around the size of 1 inch cubes or smaller so that they cook thoroughly before your fruits and vegetables turn to ash. Generally beef and steak will take longer to cook than chicken, so you may even separate different types of meats among different skewers to ensure even grilling if you’re not sure how small to cut the pieces.
It’s not a bad idea to marinate your meats in an airtight zip-lock bag with your favorite marinade, such as BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. You could even just add some olive oil and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. This is the fun part that will give your meat the flavor you want, so experiment with different sauces, herbs, and spices until you find something that you like. Let the meat marinate in your zip-lock bag for an hour in the fridge, while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, get your skewers ready, and heat your charcoal grill. Unless you’re using a gas grill, in which case you can open up a six-pack to pass the time. If you think ahead of time, try to marinate the meat overnight.
Ready the Skewers
Here, you have the option of investing in a couple of metal, sturdy, reusable skewers or opting for the cheaper, wooden, disposable option. If you’re using wooden skewers, you’re going to want to soak them in water while your meat is marinating in the fridge (at least a half hour) so that they don’t burn on the grill and get stuck to all the meat.
When you’re ready to skewer your food, simply slide all your pieces of meat, vegetables, fruits, and/or seafood onto the skewers. You’re generally going to want to alternate between each type of food to create a nice flavor contrast and allow the juices of one to combine with the juices of its neighbors. Separate some of the ingredients that take longer to cook from the ones that cook quickly – like pieces of chicken that will take around 10-12 minutes should not be pared with tomatoes which will be done in 2-3 minutes. Make sure to leave tiny gaps between the ingredients on each skewer to allow them to cook evenly over the flame. Use something like a bell pepper piece to cap the ends rather than a cherry tomato which could get mushy and slide off by the end.
Grill the Bastards
Heat up your coals if using a charcoal grill about 3o minutes before adding the shish kebab skewers. Whether gas or coals, lightly oil the grill with a cooking oil so as to prevent your delicious kebabs from sticking. You’re going to want to stay by the grill and keep watch moreso than when you grill a burger or steak because of the variety of ingredients you’re exposing to fire at the same time. Just keep watch to prevent any burning. One skewer may cook faster than another. Rotate the kebabs regularly and often to ensure even cooking throughout. Over a medium-high flame, your shish kebabs will most likely take about 10-15 minutes to cook thoroughly, so make sure to rotate them every 2-3 minutes. Before serving, check the temperature of the meat or cut into them to see how done they are. If red juices are pouring out, or they are tough to cut into, they may still need time over the flame.
Eat them as they are right off the skewer, or take them off and dip them, or stick them on a piece of pita bread. Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong eating some damn fine shish kebabs.