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Kebab or Kabob?

Even though the official end of summer isn’t until September 22nd, it always feels like summer is over after Labor Day. And I’m actually quite happy about that. The kids are back in school and I am so looking forward to the beautiful fall weather. Also, I am always ready for “fall foods” by this point. I can’t wait for some beef bourguignon, short ribs, chicken soup or pretty much anything that cooks slow and low all day on the stove.

But, before that happens, we have to have one last nod to summer. We need at least one last grilling event. Enter the shish kabob. Is it kabob or kebab? I don’t know, but we all know what I’m talking about, right? Delicious meats and vegetables thread onto a stick and grilled to perfection.

Do you want to know the greatest thing about cooking at home? You get to do whatever you want. You can follow a recipe exactly, you can tweak it or you can break the rules. I think I break the kebab rules.

Everyone likes this nice little package. One kebab with a little meat and a variety of veggies. I get it. It paints a pretty picture. It is very convenient. But in my opinion, they NEVER turn out right! Even if you cut everything into the same size, meat does not cook at the same temperature/speed as vegetables. It just doesn’t happen.

So, I break the rules. Each kebab has only one thing. There are chicken kebabs, zucchini kebabs, mushroom kebabs and so on and so forth. This way, every thing is cooked just as it should be. Plus, for those of us that don’t like peppers… we don’t have to suffer through every bite of anything tasting like a pepper. Gross. Really, it’s just better for everyone this way.

I prep early:

First, I fill a casserole dish with water and put my skewers in there. This way they won’t burn later when they are on the grill.IMG_6069

I buy a cut of beef (probably strip steak), a pork tenderloin and some boneless skinless chicken breasts. Cut each thing up into similarly sized pieces. Put each meat into its own Ziploc bag and pour some teriyaki over it. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Leave in the fridge to marinate until you are ready or for as little as 20 minutes on the counter.

I repeat that process with zucchini and squash.

I make sure the mushrooms are cleaned and ready to go but leave them alone for now.

When I’m ready to grill, I skewer. Now, this is where I break my own rule-breaking. I will sometimes put a piece of onion between each piece of meat. But I know those kebabs are for me or my husband. I also do kebabs without onions because my kids (without knowing there was onion on the kebab) will not eat the meat if it has been next to an onion. So, some with onion and some plain. And, I don’t care about eating this onion, it is just for extra flavor (but you can eat the onion of course).IMG_6074

Then I carefully thread my zucchini on a few kebabs and my squash on a few others. I toss my mushrooms in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, I put those on their own skewer. You get it. One item per stick. You can do kebabs of whatever you like: tomatoes, eggplant, pineapple, even the dreaded green pepper.IMG_6071

After grilling each item to perfection, I pile everything onto a big platter. All pork here. All zucchini here. All mushrooms here, etc. There is nothing better than one giant mounded platter that everyone just picks from. It looks beautiful and somehow tastes better when it’s served that way.  I always find myself taking bites of each thing, one at a time trying to decide which is my favorite. I’m still trying to figure it out. SOOO GOOD!!!

Shish KebabsIMG_6078

Feeds 6-8

1 lb Beef (Strip Steak or Filet)
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
2 Medium Squash
2 Medium Zucchini
1 lb Mushrooms (I like Crimini/Baby Bella)
1 Yellow, Red or Vidalia Onion (optional)
Teriyaki Sauce
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Bamboo Skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut meat into equal sized pieces.
Put each type of meat into its own Ziploc bag.
Pour a few tablespoons of teriyaki sauce into each bag.
Squeeze the air from the bag and seal.
Marinate the meat in the fridge until ready to use or on the counter for 20 minutes.

Repeat the above steps with both the squash and zucchini.

Heat grill over medium to medium-high heat.
Line two baking sheets with foil.
Thread the beef on skewers, leaving a little space in between each piece of meat (if desired, you can put a slice of onion in between each piece of beef for flavor).
Then, do the same with the pork and chicken.
Place all the skewers on one of the foil-lined baking sheets.

Next, thread the zucchini onto skewers; then squash.
In a mixing bowl, toss the mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper; thread onto skewers.
Place all veggies on the second foil-lined baking sheet.

I like to grill the veggies first as they always take longer than I expect but still taste good at room temperature.
Place on the grill and cook until your desired doneness.
(Times will vary based on the exact temperature of your grill, the vegetables themselves, the size of your veggie pieces and your “doneness” preferences but it will probably take at least 7 minutes per side.)

Then, I grill the meat.
This is also done to your preference; I like rare beef, pork with the littlest bit of pink on the inside and chicken cooked all the way through.
(Again, times will vary due to all the… variables. Beef probably at least 5 minutes per side: Pork at least 5-7 minutes per side; Chicken at least 7 minutes per side.)

When done, slide everything off of the skewers, into piles, onto a big platter. Put it in the middle of the table and go crazy!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

8 thoughts on “Kebab or Kabob?

  1. These look like deliciousness on a platter – going to make for friends on Sunday:). Thank you for doing the thinking, planning and grocery list for me!!

  2. I love kabobs but shy away because of the proper cooking for everything on the skewer. Your way makes more sense especially for those who won’t touch anything veggie. Thx

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