Creative Grilling

Posted by Alayne Gardner-Carimi on

No Fork, Knife or Plate Required

Skewer recipes are a great way to grill. if you’re looking for a fast and easy bite that doesn’t require a formal place setting this weekend (or anytime!), look no further. They’re easy to assemble (you can even have guests assemble their own) and are designed to feed a crowd. They are a fantastic way to explore the creative side of grilling. 

Kabobs offer a canvas for combining various flavors, textures, and ingredients to create delicious and visually appealing dishes. Whether you're grilling meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, or a combination, kabobs provide endless possibilities for experimenting with marinades, spices, and accompaniments. 

Creativity Unleashed

Whether you spell it kabob, kabab, kebab or kebap (kabob with a “bob” would most likely be used by people from countries such as Iran or Armenia whereas kebab or kabab would be used in Arabic-speaking countries such as Lebanon or Syria), you can let your creativity shine through when making kabobs. Choose a variety of ingredients to thread onto your skewers. You can use proteins like chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, or plant-based options like tofu or seitan. Combine them with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms. You can also add fruits like pineapple, melon, or peaches, for a sweet and savory twist.

Add layers of flavor by marinating your proteins and vegetables before grilling. Experiment with different marinades using a combination of herbs, spices, oils, citrus juices or vinegars, and even yogurt-based marinades. Allow the ingredients to marinate for at least 30 minutes for more intense flavors. A visit to vomFASS-Madison will really allow your creative juices to flow (pun definitely intended!). Oils, vinegars, wines and spirits can all play fun roles in creative marinades. Brainstorm with our staff and check out our article on Marinade Magic for more tips and ideas.

Alternate different ingredients on the skewers to create an appealing visual contrast and to vary the textures. For example, pair tender meat with crispy vegetables or seafood with soft fruits. Elevate the flavor profile by brushing kebabs with sauces and glazes while grilling. Think about options like teriyaki sauce, chimichurri, tzatziki, barbecue sauce, or a spicy sriracha glaze.

7 Tips for Perfect Kabobs

  • Cut the meat and veggies slightly bigger than the space between the grill grates.
  • To marinate, cut meats into similarly sized pieces. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. Thirty minutes is all you need for tofu and seafoods, including fish and shellfish. Chicken, pork, and beef can be marinated in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. 
  • Soak your wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.
  • Make sure that the ingredients have similar cooking times, or, if not, stagger the size you cut them so it balances out the kebab (if you're making sirloin kebabs with bell peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and pineapple, cut the meat smaller than the peppers since the sirloin will take longer to cook, to have it perfectly done at the same time as the quicker-cooking tomatoes and pineapple). If your ingredients have wildly different cooking times, just make skewers of single items, like shrimp on one and chunks of eggplant, onion, and zucchini on another.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat so skewers can cook quickly. 
  • Grilling consistently over medium high heat is better than using high heat (375˚F-400˚F). You’ll get tough, burned, or scorched pieces above 400˚F.
  • Cooking times: meats, such as chicken and beef, need 12-15 minutes total. Fish and vegetables require about 10 minutes. Cooking to temperature will always yield the best results: 165˚F for chicken, 145˚F for pork and fish, 130˚F for beef and tofu.
  • Let the kabobs rest for 10 minutes before you dive in. Just like if you were cooking a steak or a pork chop on its own, pieces of meat also need time to rest after they come off the grill. Be patient — just a few minutes will do to make sure those juices don't run out right after you worked so hard to make a beautiful meal.

What Goes on a Kabob
Grilled meat and veggies are perfect together, and while some are obvious combinations, below are other terrific combinations that skewer great and taste delicious on a kabob.

Shrimp, peppers and pineappleWild Mango Balsamic Star, Chili Oil
Salmon, shitake, pickled gingerGrape Ginger Lemon Balsamic, Ginger Sesame Oil
Chicken, zucchini, onionsPassion Fruit Balsamic Star, Curry Oil 
Tofu, cherry tomatoes, melonForest Blossom Honey Balsamic, Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grilled strawberries and glazed donut holesAceto Balsamico Maletti

Art & Science

Remember that grilling is both an art and a science, and exploring the creative side of kabobs is about trying new combinations, experimenting with flavors, and enjoying the process. So fire up your grill, let your imagination run wild, and create kabobs that are not only delicious but also a reflection of your culinary creativity!

Balsamic Strawberry Kabobs

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  • What a great idea!

    Suzie on

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