How is it that two people can remember things so differently? If you ask my mother she’ll say she’s only made beef kebabs a couple times in her life. If you ask me, one of my favorite childhood memories is my mother’s kebabs, cooked over the little cast iron hibachi grill my parents had on the back porch. My most vivid memory of them was the time I was recovering from pneumonia, hadn’t eaten anything for 3 weeks, and was allowed for the first time to sip some broth. And sip I did while the rest of the family ate beautiful, smoky, meaty, hearty, beefy kebabs. It. Was. So. Unfair. I can still smell them now. There was nothing I wanted more in the world at that moment than those kebabs. Sigh.
Funny, the emotional ties we can have with food, isn’t it?
I love, really truly love beef kebabs. Why? They’re fun, they’re on a stick. You can make your own, just they way you want them (lots of mushrooms please). If you’ve marinated the meat properly (several hours or preferably overnight), they’re the most juicy wonderful morsels you could possibly eat.
A few tips that will help ensure your kebabs turn out well. Marinate the meat, the longer the better. Use double skewers to make them easier to turn. Use bamboo or wooden skewers so that the inside of the steak pieces stay nice and pink. Keep a little space between the items (more space than shown in the photo above, I sort of forgot that part when I did the batch pictured), so that the food grills versus steams. And most important, keep an eye on them! Do a finger test for doneness, or if the grill is too hot, tap the meat with the end of your tongs to see how much its giving. The meat and veggies will continue to cook a little once you’ve taken them off the grill and they are resting, so keep that in mind.
Beef Kebabs Recipe
Using bamboo or wooden skewers instead of metal will help keep the steak from getting overcooked on the inside. Metal transfers heat, so is useful to use for chicken, or a meat that you want to cook all the way through, but not so useful for steak that you want done rare or medium rare.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 lbs top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1-2 medium red onions
- 1/2 to a pound button mushrooms
- About 20 bamboo or wooden skewers
1 Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the meat. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours or even overnight. (Heck, I've kept the meat marinating for a couple days, still great.)
2 Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help prevent them from completely burning up on the grill.
3 Cut the vegetables into chunks roughly the width of the beef pieces. Taking care not to poke yourself, thread the meat and vegetables onto double bamboo skewers. One way to do this safely is to put the piece that you are trying to pierce on a cutting board, and then push the skewers through the piece to the board. Using double skewers will help you turn the kebabs on the grill. If you keep a little space between the pieces, they will grill more evenly. Paint the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade.
3 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, and how done you would like your meat, turning occasionally. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.