Kebabs

I have been making kebabs for ages. It is such a great party food! It is especially fun because people like to help with the assemblage and cooking. There is one huge issue I have though with most kebab recipes. See, the chef types like to put a bunch of the same ingredient on one kebab. This way, things with different cooking times can cook for different lengths. Then at the end, all the kebabs are emptied onto a pile of rice or cous cous, and everyone grabs a plate. Ok, I’m sure this tastes great, but if I wanted grilled meat and rice, I would have made a steak!  To me part of the whole fun of kebabs is eating them off the stick!  Also, as the assembler of the kebab, you are giving the eater a gift on a stick. A suggestion of how to eat it. A progression of food from the top to the bottom. Before we begin, here are some pics of me making kebabs from like 5 years ago! Told you guys I was a natural born food blogger.

A bunch of kebabs in a Busch light case? Must be college!

oh college…

The guy on the left with his back to us is Joe. He was visiting all weekend and suggested the kebabs to bring back all the college memories.

OK. Back to the present. I have already made a controversial statement about the way I like to make kebabs, so now I need to back it up if I want to change a few minds right? Think of uneven cooking times as the job of the knife and not the job of the grill. Use your knowledge of cooking times to make the cuts of meat and chicken relative sizes that will be finished cooking at the same time. This means make the chicken a little smaller than the beef. I usually buy chicken tenderloins for kebabs and cut them in half only.

The second trick is to marinate the meats overnight. This gives your cooking times a bit of a cushion. If you overcook a piece of chicken that has been sitting in a marinade for 12 hours, it isn’t going to be dry. That marinade on the right is a “trash marinade,” basically I cleaned out my fridge! I blended up some garlic, onions, basil, lemon, molasses, apple vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil and poured it over the steak with beer. There are many more marinade options at the bottom of this post.

We were out on the boat all day, so Mandi and Joe were ready to rock.

Cut up all the veg and place them in a large bowl. Give it some salt and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix it all around. Let it sit out like this for an hour. With the potatoes, give them a good roast in salt/pepper/oil until they are almost cooked.

Set up some friends on a table somewhere and have them go to work! I like to give a quick kebab primer before they start. One tip I give people is to skewer things using the “sail” method. This means to stab an onion or pepper twice instead of once (reminiscent of a sail on a boat) to reduce spinage on the grill.

That piece in the middle there is a kebab secret weapon. Halloumi is a greek cheese that you can grill! You need to be careful when you skewer and cook these, cause they have a grain and could split and fall off the skewer, but when you do it right, it’s magic.

In this picture, you can see what I mean by the maker of the kebab suggesting how you eat it. Here Mandi has suggested that the eater begin with a pepper wrapped piece of chicken, move on to the palate cleansing halloumi, follow it up with an onion wrapped steak, and finish it all with a nice piece of potato.

What is going on in this picture?

That’s a lot of kebabs!

Joe working his magic on the grill.

This is where the party starts!

Soo much more fun than piling the meat onto cous cous

Sarah likes the cheese.

Kyle is a little TOO into it.

Things to keep in mind:
Marinade overnight
Marinades really flavor chicken, but are only subtle on beef and are more for tenderizing. A rub left overnight on the beef will do the same tenderizing job and may taste stronger in the final product.

My throwaway marinade from today:
Lemon, onions, garlic, basil, apple vinegar, molasses, salt, pepper, olive oil, beer

The chicken was chile lime:
Lime juice, chile powder(a lot), little cumin, little honey, salt, pepper

Greek is a good one
Oregano, lemon, onions, garlic, thyme, olive oil

a few other options.

In college we used to do a lot of bottled Italian dressing as marinades. Also bbq sauce or other bottled marinades. The old standby was lemon and Busch light.

The ingredients were:
Steak
Chicken
Peppers
Onions
Zucchini
Pineapple
Potato
Halloumi

Not today, but in the past I have used:

Fish(marinaded for an hour, not overnight)
Sausages
Asparagus
Radiccio
Lemon Wedge
Tomato
Basil
The possibilities are endless!