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5 Secrets to Perfect Shish Kabobs
There is no perfect shish kabob (or kebab, if you prefer) for everyone – because the ideal flavor combination is going to change from person to person – but there are some tricks you can use to make sure the outcome is perfect.
For the completely uninitiated, a shish kabob is a skewered combination of meat and veggies (or just veggies) that is grilled and served hot, right on the stick. Given the variety of ways this can go down, it helps to focus on the fundamentals.
<strong>1. The Skewers</strong>
They can be metal or made of natural material and each type has its pros and cons. Wood or bamboo skewers don’t get hot, which makes them easier to handle when it’s time to eat, but they can also catch on fire and are typically not reusable.
Metal skewers, on the other hand, can’t be soaked in the marinade to help deliver extra flavor to your kabobs. (NOTE: Always do this or <em>wet your natural skewers with water to reduce the chance of combustion</em>.)
<strong>2. The Fruit & Veggie Mix</strong>
Different fruits and veggies cook at different speeds and this is especially true for kabob combinations that include “soft” things like pineapple and “hard” things like green peppers. In this example, <em>blanch your green peppers in boiling water for a minute</em> to put them on the same level as the mushrooms, tomatoes and other soft items.
<strong>3. The Marinade</strong>
A lot of people will tell you that “it’s all about the marinade.” They’re about half right. <em>Make sure your marinade contains a fair amount of salt or salty ingredients</em> (think soy sauce) to <a title="How to Grill the Perfect Chicken Breast" href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/how-to-grill-the-perfect-chicken-breast/" target="_blank">soften meat muscle fibers</a> and everything else will work out fine. It will help the meat cook faster, which will in turn help you avoid overcooking the fruits and veggies.
<strong>4. The Meat</strong>
By design, kabobs are meant to be cooked fairly quickly. This means the meat chunks shouldn’t be too big – keep your cubes between 1 and 2 inches.
<em>Avoid overheating by keeping some of the marinade you’ve reserved at the ready for basting as your kabobs finish cooking.</em>
<strong>5. The Heat</strong>
There are but four things you need to remember when cooking kabobs:
- Use high heat.
- Oil your grill grate.
- Turn frequently, but not <em>too</em> frequently.
- 10 minutes should do it for any type of meat.
Use these five tricks and your next round of shish kabobs might just be the best you’ve ever cooked.