The sun is shining, the days are longer, and it seems everywhere you turn barbecue smoke fills the air. This can only mean one thing: grilling season is here and it’s time to oil up the grates. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the best things you can cook outdoors: kabobs, in every one of their delicious permutations.
The first ever mentions of kabobs appeared in medieval Arab cookbooks, although archaeological evidence points to humans cooking food on sticks since prehistoric times—there is something very primal to it, after all. So you can’t get much more universal than the kabob, as most cultures have some version of it in their culinary repertoire.
There are no hard rules for crafting a great kabob, but a few best practices will make sure you’re set up for success. Read on to learn the basics and shop everything you need on FreshDirect.
How to make a great kabob
The skewers: You can go for reusable metal skewers if you like. But if you’re serving a larger crowd, washing them at the end of the night isn’t exactly the most efficient. Bamboo skewers will do the job just fine, but are also susceptible to burning. To reduce the chances of them becoming completely charred, place them on a lipped tray and let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
The marinade: Although you can always brush some sauce on your kabobs once they’re cooking, you’re guaranteed better flavor by letting them soak for at least an hour or two. There are plenty of great marinade recipes out there, but there are even more great ready-to-use sauces available these days. We’re especially fans of those from Haven’s Kitchen and Omsom.
Get cooking: Once you’ve gotten your kabob items picked out, you’ll want to skewer them together somewhat tightly. Sparsely threaded kabobs will cook a little too quickly, cooking through the insides before they’ve had a chance to get browned on the outside. If they’re packed together, it’ll slow things down so that they’re nicely cooked inside and out. Just make sure not to overload them to the point where become exceptionally heavy.
Once you’ve got them on the grill, make sure to turn your kabobs as soon they’ve got some browning on the side that’s facing the heat—in most cases, every couple minutes. Try get to all sides of each skewer, giving them a quarter turn each time you rotate. If you’d like to put some extra sauce on the outside, use a brush to coat your skewers during the last few minutes of cooking, which will help the sauce set and dry out just enough that it sticks to the pieces.