Beef kabobs are a winning pick for your next backyard grill out. Quick and easy to make and extremely versatile with nearly infinite 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.
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 and fits into a balanced diet — plus, it’s budget-friendly . Other good beef choices for kabobs are Flat Iron or Strip Steak and even Tenderloin.
2. 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 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.
5. Give Space
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.
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 kabobs, the internal temperature should be 145°F after you’ve completed cooking. Protip: Kabobs will continue to cook a little more and gain a few more degrees while resting on the platter.
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!
Ready to get grilling? Here are some kabob 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.
Get a taste of Morocco with these globally-inspired kabobs.
Add a sweet and savory touch to your kabobs with a delicious fig-balsamic glaze.
What are your favorite kabob combinations? Tell us in the comments below.