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Grilling the Perfect Shish Kebab

Thought to originate from central Asia, Kebabs,Kabobs, or Kebaps (whichever way you skewer them) are a staple on many paradise grills, that end up giving the pit master a lot of grief.

Why do these seemingly delicious meat sticks get such a bad rap? Well, unless you’ve already done your research, many of us aren’t doing it right. At best we end up with a mildly flavored, unevenly cooked kebab. The following guide is for grillers who have tried and failed to make delicious kebabs and are willing to take a whack at it again.

It Starts At The Store

If you’re not buying the proper ingredients, you’ve already lost half the battle. Certain meats cook exceptionally well on skewers and others…well you’ve seen and tasted what happens. Your meat selection for winning the skewer game should look something like this:

  • Beef – Sirloin or Sirloin tip with a bit of fat to keep from drying out.
  • Chicken – Thighs or breasts. Best option is to stick with thighs, as they have a tendency to be more flavorful and moist then the chicken breast.
  • Pork – Use the chops, but make sure to marinate before hand to avoid toughness.
  • Lamb – The O.G. meat of kebabs. It’s texture makes it the choice meat for kebabs, though it does require some prep work (removing connective tissues) this is the winning option for perfectly cooked kebabs.
  • Seafood – Swordfish, Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, or Scallops all are great options.

A Word On Produce

Not all produce works well with the shish kabob. Choose fruits and veggies that will take about the same time to cook as the meat on your Paradise grills. This includes produce like, pineapples, mango, apples, peaches, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes. If you plan on using heartier produce like potatoes, boil them beforehand.

Preparation & Grilling

Now that you have the correct selection of meats and veggies, it’s time to get to work. First you need your skewers, the best options are flat metal skewers. These keep the meat from spinning as you rotate them and are also reusable. If you plan on using the round, wooden variety you must soak them in water for 30 minutes before use to avoid burning.

Next, you’ll want to cut your veggies and meat and in to 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes and remove any connective tissue.

Now, it’s time to marinate! Despite popular belief meat does not need to be marinated overnight, in fact, sometimes that can ruin the meat! Marinate your meat selection for 2-4hours at most (less for seafood) before throwing them on your Paradise grills.

You can find recipes for different kebab marinades and meat-veggie ideas, here.

Once your kebabs are ready it’s time to cook em’! Turn one side of your paradise grills to medium-high heat and keep the otherside turned off. If your kebabs start to cook too fast you can put them on the “off-side” to keep them cooking without getting charred.

Plating Your Kebabs

There are a few different ways you can devour your now perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned kebabs- right off the skewer or over a bed of rice or risotto (any carb option will do) if the guests start to outnumber the amount of shish kebabs.