Shish kebabs have become an American grill staple food. They are easy to make, relatively inexpensive to buy, and look appetizing served with lots of different colorful vegetables. Grilling is perhaps the most common way to cook shish kebabs, but the broiler is a great alternative in the winter months or if you do not have access to an outdoor grill.
The Cut of Meat Matters
It's important to select the cut of meat that fits your budget and your meal preferences. Tenderloin or filet mignon is the best cut for making shish kebabs but they are also the most expensive. In most cases, these cuts do not require a marinade and for the best flavor, should be served rare or medium-rare. If you do like your meat rare or medium-rare and can afford tenderloin, then, by all means, go for it. Your kebabs will taste incredible and won't require strenuous chewing!
For a more budget-friendly cut and for those who prefer their meat cooked a bit more than rare, top sirloin is a good option. It's economical and when prepared correctly, will cut like butter. The trick with top sirloin is to marinate it and allow the meat to absorb the marinade for up to 24 hours. Use an acidic based marinade that contains lemon juice or white vinegar; it will naturally tenderize the meat by breaking down the connective tissue.
Cooking the Kebabs
Finally, the size of your beef cubes should not be huge. Large chunks of meat threaded onto a skewer and grilled will cook unevenly. Evenly cut, bite-sized cubes of meat cook faster, more evenly, and do not require a fork and steak knife to cut. To ensure even cooking of meat and vegetables, make sure the pieces are not too big or too thick and that they are as uniform in size as possible. Always leave a little bit of space in between veggies and meat to allow heat to circulate, and rotate often on the grill, just as you would a regular steak or vegetables. Another option is to separate the meat from the veggies by placing them on different skewers. This way you can ensure that the protein is cooked exactly as you like it and the veggies will not be over or underdone.
Prepare the grill for medium heat (350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Cook the kebabs over direct heat and turn them once or twice. Use a glove or tongs to turn the kebabs. Skewers, especially metal ones, can get extremely hot on the grill.