Make the most of your next backyard barbecue!
Though August fast approaches, there’s still plenty of precious barbecuing time remaining. At Sunset Foods, we have all the ingredients to help you pull off an amazing feast – and we’ll even help you with some of the dirty work.
Let’s talk kabobs. They have a long history on barbecue menus – and for good reason. Succulent pieces of meat are skewered between the best and brightest vegetables of the season, and marinated in a savory blend of herbs and oils, then grilled to mouthwatering perfection. And who doesn’t love eating food on a stick? That’s what summer is about, right?
Too bad that more often than not people’s attempts to produce the perfectly grilled kabob at home fall short of success. We’ve heard every excuse – the veggies cook faster than the meat and end up burnt; everything falls off the skewers before they make it to the table; the whole kabob ends up tasting like onions; it’s too much work to cut everything up and skewer it. Never fear friends. A perfect kabob can be yours. We’re here to see to it!
First, a word about skewers. Wooden skewers are a great choice when you want to eliminate clean up afterwards, but they do require a bit more prep. In order to avoid flare-ups on the grill, wooden skewers must soak in water for thirty minutes before threading the food on.
Metal skewers require less prep work – simply ensure they are clean and lightly oiled or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray before threading.
For a great hit of herbal flavor, try skewering softer veggies or tofu on rosemary sprigs. They impart that wonderful rosemary flavor without the need for a marinade. Choose thicker, sturdier sprigs; remove the leaves from the sprig then insert the stem through the vegetables or tofu, just as you would a skewer.
About those grilled items. It’s important to make sure you cut up meats and veggies into similar-sized pieces. This ensures even cooking. When skewering these meat and veggies, leave a little space between items to allow heat to surround the item and cook it thoroughly. (1/4” is a perfect amount.) Nobody wants to bite into raw meat!
All foods on a skewer should require approximately the same cooking time.
When choosing veggies, opt for softer, quicker cooking varieties like zucchini, squash, red onion wedges, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms and bell peppers.
Now that the skewers are prepped and ready to hit the coals, think about taking the flavor to the next level. You can season your kabobs while they cook by brushing them with oil or marinade. Here are some great ones to try:
- McCormick GrillMates marinades, mixed up according to package directions, are great brushed on kabobs. Try Greek, Caribbean, Zest Herb, and Garlic-Wine for chicken, shrimp and vegetables; Montreal Steak, Chipotle and Southwestern are good with beef.
- For a Sicilian flavor, combine 1 teaspoon each sea salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano leaves with 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and 3 cloves finely minced garlic. Brush on kabobs while cooking or use as a marinade for chicken, pork and seafood.
- If you’re watching your salt intake, combine 1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash or other salt-free flavor mix with 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil. Let rest for 30 minutes then brush over grilling kabobs.
- Combine 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, and sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; let sit overnight in the fridge and then use to baste chicken, vegetables, lamb or pork kabobs.
Cook kabobs over medium heat and let them rest for at least five minutes before serving. There you have it. A foolproof plan for your next backyard barbecue!