Spice Up Your Grill.


Juicy, hot, and delicious, food grilled over hot coals on metal or bamboo skewers tastes great!

By FamilyTime

 

Bite-sized chunks of food threaded on metal or bamboo skewers and cooked over an open fire represents an ancient form of cooking. But today’s kebabs are anything but old fashioned!

Backyard chefs are as likely to skewer pieces of marinated shrimp, scallops, or salmon as they are beef, lamb, or chicken. Good sized pieces of bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, and other veggies and even fruit tastes great skewered and lightly grilled.

Kebabs are among the easiest and fastest meals you can cook on the backyard grill. Once you begin making them, you will come up with countless ideas for even more sophisticated, yummy, and ingenious grilled meals.

Always Ready for Kebabs
If you have skewers on hand, you are ready to make kebabs.

Stock your kitchen with six or more 10- to 12-inch metal skewers, which are easy to store and easy to clean. These are best for larger amounts of food, while bamboo skewers are appropriate for appetizers and smaller servings of food.

Bamboo skewers are not reusable, but are inexpensive and sold in packages of 20 or more. They look like overgrown toothpicks and must be soaked in cold water for at least 20 minutes before use so that they won’t smolder on the grill.

Assembling Kebabs
Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken all make delicious kebabs. Select lean meat and because you must cut it into chunks, boneless cuts are preferred. For instance, use boneless pork loin, boned lamb shoulder, boneless top round or sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. All are available at supermarkets.

You can thread chunks of meat or poultry directly on the skewers or marinate them first. Most home cooks prefer to marinate them to add flavor and interest to the meal. Marinating is a good way to get a jump on the meal because you prep the meat early in the day.

+Don’t forget shrimp, scallops, and meaty fish such as swordfish, monkfish, and tuna. Fish should never be marinated for as long as meat. After 90 minutes its proteins begin to break down. This results in cottony grilled fish or seafood.

Marinate the food, regardless of what it is, in glass, ceramic, or sturdy plastic dishes. Metal dishes, particularly any with aluminum, can react with the acid in the marinade for an “off” flavor. Many grill cooks like to marinate food in zipped plastic bags, which are easy to use and then to refrigerate, since they are pliable.

Cooking and Serving Kebabs
Lift the food from the marinade and let most of it drip back into the dish or plastic bag. Thread the meat, fish, and vegetables on the skewers without crowding them. There should be a little space between each chunk of food to encourage even cooking.

One of the most useful tricks to remember when grilling kebabs is that double skewers mean more stable kebabs. If you thread the food on two parallel skewers, it won’t roll around on the skewers (which is frustrating, to say the least).

Lift the skewers off the grill and then hold them upright on a plate of large board. Using the tines of a fork, slide the food off the skewers and then serve it. If the food is skewered on bamboo skewers, you may prefer to serve it directly on the skewers.