Tue Dec 23, 2014
As I look a week ahead, the season of large hearty roasts quickly shifts gears into my favorite food group—party foods. New Years kind of kicks off a month long obsession with meals comprised of bite sized portions as I use New Years Eve and the end of the football season as excuses to fill my diet with all the wings, nachos, and stuffed jalapeños my heart desires. To mash-up finger foods with comforting steak—another item I let into my winter rotation in unhealthy quantities—I bring you these steakhouse kebabs, delivering big beefy flavor on a stick.
When I say I like to eat steak in the winter, I'm talking about the good stuff—my January birthday provides the perfect excuse to splurge on the finest dry-aged strips or porterhouses. These intensely beefy cuts need nothing more than salt and pepper to bring them to perfection, but kebabs didn't seem the right place to shell out for the best of the best. That left me with the challenge to get big beefy flavor in a less-than cut of the steer.
To accomplish that, I started with moderately flavorful and moderately tender sirloin tips. To heighten its flavor into more acceptable territory, I turned to some of the standards that make a subpar steak more palatable. That included Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Dijon, and lemon juice, which I whisked into a marinade along with olive oil, garlic, and brown sugar.
My not so tender, not so flavorful beef cubes marinated in this mixture for a few hours. Although marinades don't penetrate much beyond the surface, I wanted to give it enough time for the glutamates in the soy sauce and Worcestershire to work their magic on enhancing the flavor of the beef.
Once done in the marinade, I skewered the beef with steakhouse appropriate accompaniments. First were red onions that I had cut into 1 1/2-inch squares to match the size of the beef cubes. Each square was stacked three onion layers high, which gives the onion more stability on the stick. Interspersed with the onion and steak were mushrooms, which I hoped would add a hearty, earthy compliment to the beef.
Once I had them all skewered up, I brought the kebabs to a hot fire and placed them over direct heat. The sugar in the marinade helped the exterior of the steak brown quickly and beautifully, which is important because taking too long to sear has the potential to result in over cooked meat. By the time I had nice browning on all four sides of the beef, the insides were still a decent rosy medium, making them more tender, juicy, and flavorful than if they were cooked to medium-well or well.
The final kebab delivered big on beefy flavor. It was a bit of smoke and mirrors though, since the beef got a decent lift from the robust marinade, but the flavors were such that in the end the entire thing just tasted beefy more than anything else. Pairing well with the mushrooms and onions, this did feel like a steakhouse meal on stick, which was a perfect combination of form and flavor for winter eating.
- Prep Time:
- 20 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 1 Hour
- Cook Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- 4-6 servings
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin tips, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
- 1 large red onion, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 onion layers each)
- Whisk together oil, Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, brown sugar, and black pepper in a small bowl. Place beef cubes and mushrooms in a large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 and up to 5 hours.
- Thread beef onto skewers, alternating with mushrooms and onions.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers until beef is well seared on all sides and center of beef registers between 125-130°F on an instant read thermometer, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skewers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.