There’s something about food on a stick. Who doesn’t love juicy chunks of beef nestled between colourful veggies? With a few tips and tricks you’ll be a Shishkabob master at your next barbecue.
So what’s with the tips and tricks? How hard can it be to put chunks of meat and vegetables on a skewer?
The answer is, it’s not hard. But if you’ve had any of the following problems with Shishkabob in the past, I’ve learned a trick or two to make life easier for you.
That’s an easy one. Use more tender cuts of meat. Don’t cheap out. These Shishkabobs are made with beef tenderloin. Since you’re using chunks of beef rather than an entire steak, you can make a smaller serving go further. If you’ve ever bought a full beef tenderloin you’ll know that you can cut most of it into steaks but there will be odd shaped pieces left. Perfect for Shishkabobs.
And marinating helps too. Tenderloin doesn’t have any fat which is what gives meat flavour so a marinade helps ramp up the taste. Don’t use the marinade to baste because you aren’t cooking these long enough to kill any raw meat bacteria that may be lurking around. And of course over cooking meat makes it tough and less tasty anyway. Which takes us to problem number 2.
Overcooked Meat, Undercooked Veggies
How often have you made Shishkabobs, only to find you either end up with perfectly cooked meat and hard veggies or overcooked meat and perfectly charred veggies? The solution? Blanch your vegetables first. I don’t mean boil them to death, just give them a one minute boil, followed by an ice water bath. This accomplishes 2 things actually. It starts the cooking process so you end up with a nice char on both the meat and the veggies with them all making it to the finish line at the same time.
And….blanching also helps prevent the veggies from splitting and falling off the skewers. Yes, it adds an extra step but it’s worth it. The ice water bath helps keep the vibrant colours of the veggies.
You don’t need to blanch tomatoes but if you’re using mushrooms, they are notorious for splitting and falling off. Lots of different kinds of veggies work on Shishkabobs. Choose the most colourful combination for the best presentation. Onions are a natural tenderizer so make sure you use some beside the meat.
Skewers burn up before the meat is cooked
Wooden or bamboo skewers are cheap and convenient but they’re also combustable. The easy solution is to soak them in advance. You could use a tall narrow glass or vase filled with water. Don’t worry if they stick out the top, just flip them over a few times as they’re soaking and they should be good to go after a few hours.
Of course you can always use metal skewers. You’ll find all kinds of shapes and sizes of skewers. The flat type tend to hold everything in place better than round. Some have handles, some don’t. The handles help with something to grab onto for turning your Shishkabobs but they tend to be more expensive.
So now you have some tricks up your sleeve for making awesome Shishkabobs. If you have any leftover veggie chunks you can toss them on the grill too. And a simple starch dish like Orzo with Smokey Tomato Vinaigrette is a perfect side dish.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1¼ lb beef tenderloin cut into 20 chunks
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp steak spice ie Montreal Steak Spice
- 1 large onion cut into chunks
- ½ sweet red or orange pepper cut into 4 chunks
- ½ sweet yellow pepper cut into 4 chunks
- ½ sweet green pepper but into 4 chunks
- 4 slices summer squash or small zucchini
- 4 cherry tomatoes or mushrooms
- Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire and steak spice. Marinate beef chunks for at least 4 hours or over night.
- If using wooden skewers, soak in tall glass of water for 2-4 hours, flipping if necessary.
- Cut vegetables into chunks. Bring pot of water to boil. Add all veggies except tomatoes to boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and immediately add to large bowl of ice water.
- Thread meat and vegetables onto skewers in alternating pattern, with onion beside each chunk of meat. Top with cherry tomato or mushroom. Use 5 chunks of beef and each vegetable once on each skewer for best presentation.
- Grill on high, turning frequently until meat and veggies are well charred and meat is medium rare.