Kebabs are basically meat and vegetables skewed together on metal or wooden sticks. Just about every culture has their own version of kebabs, they can be served as appetizers or the main course. In North America kebabs are usually enjoyed as the main dish, add some potatoes and bread for a complete meal.
When it comes to skewers we prefer using metal skewers to the wooden skewers. Wooden skewers are inexpensive but tend to burn on the grill, they should be soaked in cold water at least 10 minutes but preferably 30-60 minutes to help keep them from burning.
Stainless steel skewers cost a little more but can be used over and over. Look for metal skewers with a sharp end, this makes it easier to threat the meat and vegetables. If you can find square sided metal skewers, pick them up, meat and vegetables have a tendency to spin on round skewers when turning on the grill.
Marinating is a must for kebabs, unless you plan on using cuts from the loin or rib area if grilling with beef. Cuts from the loin and rib are expensive, especially if you're cooking for a large group. Marinating less expensive cuts are far more economical and every bit as good.
It can be difficult to cook beef or pork kebabs, because the meat and vegetables often take different times to cook. Some prefer to cook the meat and vegetables on separate skewers, but nothing beats the flavors of meat and vegetable juices melting together over the grill.
Some vegetables need more cooking time than beef or pork on the grill, partially cooking vegetables before can help the kebabs finish with an even doneness. Onions, peppers and even pineapples are good choices for beef and pork kebabs that don't need to be partially cooked before grilling. Try experimenting with the following kebab recipes using different vegetables, fruit or marinades.
Beef Kebab Recipes
The cut of beef you use for your kebabs really depends on your budget and how much prep. time you have. Cuts from the loin and rib are tender and flavorful but expensive. Cuts from the hip(round) are cheap but tough and need to be marinaded 4-24 hours.
We found the top sirloin, cut from the sirloin to be the best bang for you money. Top sirloin has great flavor, cheaper than the premium cuts and just slightly more than cuts from the hip. Although fairly tender on its own, we found marinating top sirloin to be the perfect cut for beef kebabs.
Pork Kebab Recipes
Today's pork has a tendency to easily dry out on the grill, so we suggest marinating pork for kebabs. Although all cuts of pork can be used for kebabs, we prefer cuts from the loin and shoulder butt(Boston).
Pork loin center and particularly the rib portion of the loin is tender, flavorful and maintains a nice texture when marinaded. Pork shoulder butt has great flavor but should be marinaded 16-24 hours and has the ability to stand up to 36 hours in a marinade without becoming soft and mushy. Pork tenderloin is very tender but can be too mushy for kebabs and shouldn't be marinaded more than 1-2 hours.