Grilled food is just better. Even though it rains a lot here in the Seattle area, my family and friends BBQ year around. A fun and healthy alternative to hamburgers and hot dogs is to make shish kebobs. Shish kebobs are easy to make and healthy for those young and old alike.
Shish kebobs remind me of those scenes in old movies when they are roasting meat over a spit. Unlike that scary unmentionable meat being turned over and over by the cowboys, we will put our favorite meats and veggies on a stick and add flavor.
Kebobs cook just like that mystery meat in the old days. Whether you are using metal skewers or wooden ones, kebobs can be eaten without utensils making them popular with everyone from the kids who eat them to the moms who have to clean up. Metal skewers may be too hot to touch so if you have little ones, opt for the wooden ones. They are much cheaper and can be thrown out afterwards.
When working with wooden skewers, be careful to soak them in water for at least thirty minutes before putting them on the grill. A wooden skewer that isn’t saturated will burn up on the grill and cause flare ups.
Now that the safety issues are out of the way, let’s get started with the fun of creating these yummy shish kebobs. There are an infinite number of combinations you can make with your favorite foods. Choose your favorites from lamb, beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, and pork. For your vegetable choices, be sure to use veggies that can stand up to the heat of the grill without getting mushy and falling apart. Some of the more common choices include cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions.
Cut the meat and vegetables into one inch cubes. It is easier to cook them if all the food on the skewer is of similar size. Round veggies like tomatoes don’t have to be cut into square shapes. Just make sure that the size of the tomato is equal to the size of the other food.
For more even cooking choose items with similar cooking times for the same skewer. For instance, it won’t take a shrimp or a scallop long to cook on a hot grill, but a chicken or beef square will take longer. A square of zucchini will take longer to cook than a cherry tomato. The zucchini will also hold up to the heat better. If you want a tomato on your skewer consider adding one to each end after the kebob has finished cooking or just a few minutes prior to the meat being cooked through.
If you need to reduce the cooking time for chicken, boil boneless skinless chicken breasts for about twenty minutes before cubing. By parboiling you are helping to avoid cross contamination. It’s also a good idea to include only one type of meat on a skewer. When it comes time to put your shish kebobs together combine the chicken with a variety of complimentary vegetables.
When using raw meat, prepare kebobs the night before and chill them with or without marinade. If you marinade, be sure to drain any excess away before grilling. Let the skewers come to room temperature before placing on the grill to aid in faster, more even cooking.
I love shish kebobs. They can be used as appetizers or the main meal over a bed of rice. Whether snack or main attraction, they are delicious and nutritious. By mixing up the meats and veggies you can enjoy skewers anytime without getting bored with the same foods. Want to really branch out? Grill shish kebobs full of fruit for a yummy dessert.
Photo credit: rhastings