During grilling season do something a little different and make kebabs. Kebabs are a great party food because you can make a mixed variety to satisfy different tastes, assemble them ahead of time, and get the kids involved in the assembly (put ’em to work). Read on for your kebab primer and recipes.
Call them doner, shish, kofta, or gyro – all are types of kebab. While the kebab is of Middle-Eastern origin, meat on a stick has become universal, in restaurants, food trucks, street carts, and back yard grills. Because they are easy to eat with your hands (no utensils to clean!) kebabs make the perfect party food.
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.
Choosing the Right Meat for Kebabs
Kebabs cook 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, buffalo, 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.
Vegetables can also be used for kebabs. Try using eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, or tomatoes. Cook them on separate skewers to ensure even cooking, as meat and vegetables cook at different rates. Many kebab recipes will combine vegetables with meat, and we admit it creates a
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.
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.
Serve the kebabs over a mound of rice or couscous. For a utensil-free meal, wrap the meat and veggies in warm pita bread.
Ground Meat Kebab
When you use ground meat and form it around a skewer it’s known as kofta kebab. Try this with ground meat like lamb, buffalo, or venison, and feel free to add in some fat with lean meats like the last two.
You can also use sausage on skewers – as we did in this recipe – though technically not a kebab, we’ll give it a pass. After all, it’s summer and the grilling is easy.
With distinctly Southeast Asian flavors, our easy recipe for chicken satay involves 8 different aromatics and a lip-smacking peanut sauce.
Generous chunks of Berkshire pork tenderloin are marinated in a Filipino-style adobo for this tasty skewer recipe that’s great for outdoor summer parties. For an authentic look, serve on banana leaves if you can find them at a Mexican or Latin American grocery store. Asian stores are another good source.
Are you already a fan of the kebab? What are your favorite meats on a skewer for summer grilling?
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