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 American menus. Shish kebab is translated to skewer of grilled meat and encompasses many variations of the kebab.
In the Middle East, kebabs are not always prepared on a skewer and do not always consist of cubed meat and veggies.
Since kebab are prepared in just about every Middle Eastern country, there are several spellings, such as kabob, kebob, kebap, kabab, and kebab.
- Beef Shish Kebabs Marinated cubes of beef or sirloin combined with fresh veggies make this beef shish kebab easy, yet flavorful.
- Spicy Lamb Kebab If you are looking for a kebab with a kick, this is it! Lamb is marinated in a spicy blend of herbs, creating a flavorful lamb kebab.
- Shrimp Kebab This shrimp kebab recipe is perfect for beginners. It requires very few ingredients but is bursting with flavor.
- Samak Kebab Fish make an excellent addition to a kebab. Grilled halibut, swordfish, or salmon combined with this marinade make this dish a winner.
- Shish Taouk Chicken kebab are the perfect cookout food. Chicken cooks very well on the grill and this recipe is perfect for beginners.
- Lamb and Beef Kubideh A blend of ground lamb and beef with spices are combined and skewered.
- Chelo Kebabs Chelo kebab are the national dish of Iran and one of the oldest type of kebab. This recipe is basic, yet full of flavor.
- Kofta Kofta is a great alternative to meatloaf! Made with ground beef and spices, it is cooked, but not served on a skewer.
All Skewers are Not Created Equal
The type of skewer you use is very important when making kebabs.The meat and vegetables cling to flat, stainless steel skewers 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 produces a better flavor than a gas grill.
However, gas grills are more popular than charcoal grills in western cooking culture, and gas grill will certainly do the job. It is really a matter of personal taste when it comes to the type of grill.
Read more about charcoal vs. gas grilling.
Don't have a grill? no worries. The oven broiler is another method of cooking kebabs.
Remember to spray a light coat of cooking oil on the grill before cooking the kabobs to prevent sticking.
Kebabs are traditionally served over a bed of rice, with pita bread and veggies. They can be served on or off the skewer. Dipping sauces like Turkish cacik are a popular accompaniment.