How to Grill Shish Kebab to Perfection

Have a taste for grill shish kebab?

No outdoor cooking recipe site, nor, to my mind, any outdoor cookout, is complete without shish kebab. That's not just my opinion, though. More like a meal on a stick, kids and adults simply love them.

I've learnt from a lot of experience that shish kebabs make the perfect outdoor cooking recipe. They are extremely versatile, as you can use many different types of meat and fish, and if you add vegetables, they are very colorful as well. They're also very easy to make, and can be prepared ahead of time so they're all set to place on the grill whenever you - and your guests - are ready.

Grilled Shish KebabGrilled Shish Kebab

Shish kebabs are made by skewering various types of meat, marinating them or adding spices and herbs, and then grilling them over a high flame. Sometimes, the meat pieces are separated by vegetables such as peppers, onions and mushrooms.

Originating in Turkey, the word shish kebab comes from the Turkish words for 'skewer' and 'roast meat', and were used mainly by the nomadic tribes of the region. Nowadays, these dishes are not only a mainstay of Middle Eastern food, but have expanded into most cultures, and you can find variations in just about any country around the world.

The traditional meat used when you grill shish kebab is lamb, which was most widely available to the nomadic tribes. Other meats, such as beef, pork, chicken and turkey work wonderfully, as does fish.

Common spellings (or misspellings) for this dish are shish kebob, kebob or kabob.

Grill shish kebab preparation and barbecuing tips:

  • If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them for about 30 minutes in warm water prior to use. This will keep them from catching alight while on the grill. And if you find you love these meals on a stick, why not invest in some stainless steel reusable skewers?
  • Wash all the meat and seafood thoroughly and pat dry before adding to your marinade
  • While using a marinade is not essential, I really recommend adding some spices to the meat before grilling. A dry rub works fine too.
  • If you do decide to marinate the meat, do it in a refrigerator to avoid bacteria buildup
  • The meat should all be cut to the same size for even grilling. Optimum size is 1 - 2 inch cubes.
  • Firm textured fish, such as salmon, tuna and shrimp work best
  • When using marinades, I find that heavy duty zip plastic or cooking bags work best, but marinating them in a large covered bowl is great too. If you use a bag, get most of the air out so the meat is covered by the marinade, and turn over often
  • If you add vegetables to your skewers (vegetable-only skewers are a great idea too), parboil dense vegetables such as bell peppers or zucchini if you want them fully cooked (Again, this is a suggestion and not a requirement. I prefer them nicely grilled myself.) My favorite grilled vegetables are onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers and zucchini. Why not experiment with what you like best?
  • Before putting the shish kebabs on the grill, I dip half an onion in a small bowl of olive oil and brush it over the grill. This serves the dual purpose of cleaning the grill and putting a light oil coating on the grill to prevent the meat from sticking.
  • To easily get your shish kebab off the skewer, take a piece of an or pitta bread, hold it face down in your palm, take hold of the skewered meat and with your other hand pull the skewer back. Works every time.