I am a huge fan of food on sticks… corn dogs, churrasco, satay, ice cream ;-). Of course the favorite has to be kebabs/skewers/brochettes just because they are veritable meals on a stick. Easy to prepare, easy to transport and even easier to grill these classic steak kebabs are perfect for small to large gatherings.
Bigger Is Better. Most recipes will tell you to cut your meat into 1-inch cubes which is great if all you’re looking for is bite-size chunks of meat. But if you want a beautiful flavorful sear on all sides of the meat and a nice pink center for your steak, I find that a minimum size of 1-1/2-inch cubes allows enough time on the grill for that wonderful sear and a nice mid-rare to medium doneness.
Same Size. The key to making a successful kebab is to make sure that all of your ingredients are the same size so that everything touches the grates of the grill. If your veggies are to big, you won’t get that nice sear on the meat and likewise, if the veggies are too small it won’t cook at all.
Same Time. Everything needs to cook at the same rate. Stay away from softer vegetables that can turn to mush before the meat is finished cooking. Load vegetables like zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on their own skewers and grill them separately. Stay with the basics: peppers, onion and mushrooms – they all cook to al dente by the time the meat is cooked AND they lend flavor to the beef as it cooks.
The Right Skewer. Keeping things from spinning on the skewer as you flip them can be a challenge. Skewers with flat blades or two prongs skewers solve that. I use Bull Outdoor Products Signature Stainless Steel Skewers and Rosewood Double-Prong Skewers. A great alternative is to double-up bamboo skewers when threading the kebab – just be sure to soak them in water for 30 to 60 minutes to slow down the burning of the skewer (HINT: wrap the ends in foil to prevent burning).
- For the marinade:
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2½ pounds top sirloin, 1-1/2 inches thick
- 12 medium button mushrooms
- 1 to 2 red bell peppers
- 1 to 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extras: six 10- to 12-inch skewers - I used Bull's Signature Stainless Steel Skewers
- Make the marinade by whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Trim the top sirloin and cut into twenty-four 1-1/2- x 1-1/2 cubes. Place the beef in a resealable plastic bag or shallow bowl and pour in half of the marinade. Marinate for at least a couple hours or as long as overnight in the refrigerator. Remove meat from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before grilling.
- Prepare the vegetables: Cut mushroom stems flush with the caps. Cut down the sides of the bell peppers and trim away any remaining pith; cut into twelve 1-1/2- x 1-1/2-inch pieces of each color pepper. Cut the onions into the same size as the other vegetables.
- Set up your grill for direct high heat grilling. Brush and oil the grate before cooking.
- Thread the skewers alternately with beef cubes; starting and ending with the mushroom caps. Brush kebabs with marinade left over from marinating the beef and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place kebabs on hot grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes total flipping every few minutes for medium rare. Brush kebabs with reserved marinade after every flip.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!
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