Beef kabobs are a winning pick for your next backyard grill out. Quick to make, nutritionally balanced and nearly infinite in ingredient variations, kabobs are sure to delight guests of all ages. Seriously, who doesn’t love eating beef on a stick?! However, without basic grilling or skewering know-how, even the best-intended efforts can turn out dry or lackluster. Kick up your kabob grilling game with these seven tips, along with recipe suggestions, that produce consistently delicious results.
Best Beef Cut
After years of trial and error, I’ve found that the various cuts of sirloin are the best for kabobs. Relatively tender, without a need for extensive marinating, sirloin (from top to tip) is lean enough to fit into a heart-healthy diet – plus, it’s also more affordable than many other cuts. Other good choices for kabob meat are Flat Iron or Strip Steaks and even Tenderloin, if it fits in your budget.
To Marinate Or Not
Sirloin doesn’t require marinade to break down muscle fibers for tenderness. But, if you’d like to impart a distinctive flavor, pour a marinade (bottled brands are fine) on your beef cubes for about 15 to 45 minutes prior to grilling (discard marinade after use). Or, keep life super simple and let the beef flavor shine through with just a little sprinkling of salt and pepper or a steak seasoning. Pro tip: For food safety reasons, always marinate in the refrigerator. Never marinate at room temperature or outdoors when grilling!
Allowing beef and produce to co-exist on the same skewer is perfectly fine, and it also looks beautiful. Keep beef chunks, and similar-density vegetables and fruits cut into approximate 3/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch pieces for even cooking. For example, beef, onions, squash, or pineapple chunks would be paired well on the same skewer, as they can all handle the same heat and cooking time.
If you have distinctly smaller or larger ingredients or produce that is extremely delicate (like lettuces and tomatoes), these should be skewered separately and removed from the heat earlier. Hearty ingredients like raw potatoes or chunks of corn-on-the-cob can be partially cooked prior to grilling and placed on their own individual skewers or threaded alongside the beef.
Human nature directs us to cram all we can fit onto a single skewer. But, by leaving a small amount of space between each ingredient (1/4-inch), heat can better circulate and cook food evenly.
How Hot, How Long
Grill kabobs over direct heat of approximately 400°F. Kabobs with 3/4-inch cubes require approximately 8 to 10 minutes of total time on the grill, flipping halfway through. Bigger chunks will take a few more minutes. If you notice that some skewers are cooking faster than others, move them toward a cooler zone or to indirect heat. For medium-rare kebabs, pull off the grill at an internal temperature of 125°F to 130°F. Kabobs will continue to cook a little more and gain a few more degrees while resting on the platter.
Make It A Party
Create a skewering station and ask guests to each bring a bowl full of their favorite produce prepped into bite-sized pieces. You can also provide popular veggies such as mushrooms, colorful peppers, squash, tomatoes, and onions or experiment with Romaine lettuce, asparagus, brussels sprouts and more! Fruits that hold up well on the grill include pineapple, citrus with skin on and stone fruits – grapes and watermelon are good too!
While you don’t really need an official recipe to make mouthwatering beef kebabs, here are some ideas to get you started:
My mama said “classics” are the best and she is always right. These juicy hunks of steak skewer up perfectly with colorful bell peppers and mushrooms, time and time again! Yogurt feta dipping sauce adds a tangy twist on tradition.
Tangy-sweet peanut sauce sauce infuses these not-so-basic beef kabobs with Far East flair. Crisp, cool salsa made with cucumber adds a refreshing touch.
A quick soak in zesty juice gives these meaty top sirloin chunks a bright, vibrant vibe. Thread your favorite fresh fruit on the skewers to enhance the savory-sweet matchup.
Chop big chunks of your favorite onions, from red and white to scallions and shallots, and skewer alternating alongside beef. A sprinkle of blue cheese straight off the grates give these meaty kabobs an even bolder, richer bite.
Get in touch with your inner “gaucho” by grilling up these South American inspired skewers of juicy sirloin steak and red bell peppers.