Appetizers and mains quick off the grill
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
A global staple, kebabs are as versatile as they are delicious. Whether you're dressing them up for a black-tie dinner or dressing them down for a backyard barbecue, these sublime skewers recipes are sure to become your new favourite summer feast.
Spend enough time travelling the world and feasting on street food and you’re sure to spot a common culinary find—and that’s grilled kebabs. Whether it’s souvlaki kebabs in Greece or fiery chicken kebabs served up at a makeshift food stall table in Thailand, nearly every global cuisine has its own guise of kebab. Kebabs are easy to make, quick to cook when you need to feed a hungry crowd pronto, and deliver a wallop of flavour. Wonderful for everything from appetizers to backyard parties, or as the star of a weeknight quick dinner, there are many tantalizing kebab combos to fawn over. Really, your own culinary creativity is the only limiting factor when it comes to pairing skewered ingredients. Use plenty of vegetables along with lean proteins, and you also have the making of a feast that’s full of nutritional highlights. That’s why the height of grilling season is a good time to poke you in the direction of these truly sizzling kebabs.
Follow these tips to ace your kebabs every time.
For quick weeknight meals, most kebabs can be assembled a day ahead and chilled. Sauces can also be prepared a day in advance.
To keep wooden skewers from scorching, soak them in water for about 1 hour before use. Metal skewers do not require a pre-soak. If you plan on frequently partaking in kebabs, consider soaking a bunch of skewers at once, drain, wrap tightly, and freeze. You’ll have ready-to-go skewers.
You want to select quick-cooking vegetables such as red bell peppers and mushrooms. Other kebab ingredients will overcook while you wait for items such as potatoes or carrots to soften.
To prevent sticking, it’s important to grease your grate. To do so, soak a wad of paper towel in oil, hold it with tongs, and rub it over the hot rack. A very clean grate can also go a long way to reduce the risk of your kebab items adhering like cement.
If adding more sauce to meat kebabs at the end of cooking—a great way to add an extra shot of flavour—be sure to keep some separate so you don’t contaminate it with raw meat juices.
Try to leave a little space between skewered items to promote crispy goodness. Turning the skewers over once during grilling promotes even charring.
If you don’t have a grill or want kebabs to be a year-round delight, you can broil skewers in the oven. Just be sure to keep a close watch on them so they don’t burn.