Shish Kebabs for Father's Day

These are so much fun for kids and dads to make, and you can use a great variety of meats and vegetables. Shish kebabs can be cooked outside on the grill or broiled inside. Rather than one shish kebab recipe, some possible combinations and ideas are listed below.

Suggested combinations:

  • Cubed and marinated beef or chicken, chunked pineapple, onions, and green pepper
  • Cubed chicken marinated in dad's favorite hot sauce with chunked new potatoes
  • Cubed chicken marinated in Greek salad dressing, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and chunked new potatoes
  • Veggie kebabs with zucchini, onions, and peppers basted with olive oil while grilling

* Soak wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes before putting the food on them and grilling/broiling.

If you like, you can cook or grill the meat and vegetables ahead of time and let the kids string the cooked food on skewers. Then, you can just lay them on the grill or under the broiler for a few minutes to warm them up.

A little History on the Shish Kebab……

The term shish kebab comes from two Turkish words literally meaning "skewer" and "roast meat."  It's a signature Turkish meal and a natural solution for nomadic tribes. Unusual meats were marinated not only to tenderize, but also to get rid of some of the gamey flavor.  It's been reported that Christopher Columbus was fond of Portuguese espetadas, a beef shish kebab marinated in wine and roasted on an open fire.

Advice for Making the Perfect Shish Kebab

First, the cut of the meat really does matter. Tenderloin or filet mignon are the best cuts for making shish kebabs but they're also the most expensive. They do not require a marinade in most cases but, for optimum flavor, should be served rare or medium rare. Not everyone likes a bloody or red piece of meat, so this is not a universal ideal. If you do like your meat rare or medium rare and can afford tenderloin, then go for it. Your kebabs will taste amazing and won't require strenuous chewing!

If you aren't using tenderloin or filet mignon, top sirloin is a good choice. It's economical and, when prepared correctly, will cut like butter. The trick is to marinate and allow the meat to absorb the marinade for up to 24 hours. Use an acid-based marinade that contains lemon juice or white vinegar as it will naturally tenderize the meat by breaking down the connective tissue.

Finally, the size of your beef cubes should be considered. Bite-sized cubes of meat cook more evenly and more quickly, making it easier to avoid overcooking so no one needs a fork and knife to cut the beef from the kebab.

To ensure even cooking of meat and vegetables, make sure the pieces are not too big or too thick. Always leave a little bit of space in between veggies and meat to allow heat to circulate and rotate the kebabs often on the grill, just as you would a regular steak or vegetables. Also, be sure you are not grilling at too high a temperature.