Some people find that when they make shish kebabs on the grill, the beef turns out really tough and the vegetables are not cooked enough. Fear not, there are some simple tips and tricks to make your kebabs juicy and tender.
Shish Kebabs Are a Staple
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. Many people face the same dilemma when making shish kebabs at home. Despite their efforts, they end up with chewy, tough meat which really defeats the purpose of making kebabs. So, what's a shish kebab connoisseur to do?
The Cut of Meat Matters
First, the cut of the meat really does matter. Tenderloin or filet mignon are the best cuts for making shish kebabs but are also the most expensive. They do not require a marinade in most cases, but for optimum flavor, should be served rare or medium rare. Not everyone likes a bloody, very red piece of meat, so this is not the ideal cut for everyone. 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 amazing 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, a 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.
Cubes of Meat
Finally, the size of your beef cubes should not be huge. Large "chunks" of meat threaded onto a skewer and grilled will cook unevenly. 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 you can get them. 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. Also, be sure you are not grilling at too high of a temperature. 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.