Ready, Set Kebab!

Next week, with the start of summer, I’ll post my first recipe from the kebab challenge I recently gave myself (to make one kebab recipe a week for the summer). Before I get started, I’d like to add to the kebab primer I shared last week some other advice for prepping kebabs, in case you’d like to experiment this summer, too:

For skewered kebabs, make the chunks roughly the same size. This is especially important for meat, so that the individual pieces finish cooking at the same time. If kebabs are regularly on your menu, consider cutting your meat into chunks after your trip to the grocery store before freezing any meat you’re not using right away. I have a couple of bags of lamb cubes waiting for me in the freezer right now!

Be gentle with the vegetables. Large hunks of tomato or onion can take the abuse, but pepper chunks can split in half with too much force when threading them on a skewer. Slow and steady is best.

Choose your skewers wisely. I read from Steven Raichlen that skewers that have the metal portion flat rather than cylindrical are better because the food will be less likely to move around on the skewer. I agree, and if you cut your meat to uniform size, it’ll be less necessary to be able to move the individual pieces. If you prefer bamboo skewers to metal, remember to soak them first for at least 20 minutes. (There seems to be debate on the Internet as to whether this is necessary or not, but I’d recommend it. The sticks will still char even when soaked, but it will slow the process of your sticks getting fragile like burned incense.)

Don’t hold back on innovation! Try skewering a variety of vegetables. Try skewering fruit! One recipe I’ve tried is for merguez sausages, ground meat worked through with a variety of spices and seasonings, then skewered and grilled. (Substitute lean ground beef for the lamb to go lighter.) It got me thinking about other seasoning and flavor combos I can add to meat. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Have fun if you’ll be kebab-ing with me. And please share your stories!

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