Middle Eastern Beef Shish Kebab Recipe

Beef Shish Kebab on a plate with rice and salad
Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings beef shish kebab
Ratings (31)

You'lI love the colors in this beef shish kebab recipe. The brightness of the veggies against the darkness of the beef on a bed of hot white rice is just plain appetizing. And the marinade makes the beef tender, and delicious.

In the Middle East, kebabs are not always prepared on a skewer and do not always consist of cubed meat and veggies.

Since kebabs are prepared in just about every Middle Eastern country, there are several spellings, such as kabob, kebob, kebap, kabab, and kebab.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds beef (sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • Optional: wedges of red onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms

How to Make It

Marinate the Beef

  1. About 24 hours prior to grilling, prepare marinade by combining olive oil, vinegar, cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic.
  2. Pour marinade into a freezer bag and add beef cubes. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator until ready to grill.

Grill the Kebabs

  1. Remove beef from the refrigerator and thread meat onto skewers that have been sprayed with cooking oil. If using the optional vegetables, thread them onto separate skewers because they cook differently than the beef.
  1. Spray grill with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.
  2. Serve kebabs on the skewers or off the skewers over a bed of white rice, with grilled veggies, salad, and pita bread.

Choosing Skewers

  • The type of skewer you use is very important when making kebabs. Flat, stainless steel skewers seem to work well because the meat and vegetables cling to the skewer better than wooden kinds.
  • If you do use wooden skewers, it is best to soak them in water for about 15 minutes before use because they can splinter. Do not use heavy cubes of beef or weigh down wooden skewers, as they will split in half.
  • Regardless of what type of skewer you use, be sure to apply a light coat of cooking oil before threading vegetables and meat. Your meats and veggies will slide off with ease.

Charcoal vs. Gas Grills

For an authentic-tasting kebab, a charcoal grill is better than a gas grill in terms of flavor, but it is a matter of personal taste as to which type of grill to use.

What Exactly Is a Shish Kebab?

A shish kebab is a skewer with meat and vegetables that is usually grilled. It can contain lamb, beef, fish, or chicken, as well as vegetables like green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Kebabs have become very popular in Western food culture over the last few decades and are commonly referred to as "shish kebab" at cookouts and on American menus. Shish kebab translates to "skewer of grilled meat" and encompasses many variations of the kebab.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 314
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Unsaturated Fat 12 g
Cholesterol 95 mg
Sodium 70 mg
Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 32 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)