Meat Tips: A Meat for Every Kabob
A kabob is only as good as the meat you put into it, and I've found kabobs are pretty particular with the meats they like. So I have another addition of Meat Tips, and a continuation of the kabob craziness, to help make sure you're buying the right meat to ensure skewer success.
Choosing Meat for Kabobs
Meat cubed. To start, you're going to want a meat you can uniformly cube. I stay away from pre-cubbed kabob meats, because you don't always know exactly what they are and cutting your own cubes will make sure you're getting the best and freshest product. I usually cube my kabobs into 1" cubes, so I'm looking for a piece of meat cut at least 1" tall. Making sure you have uniform size cubes ensures that all pieces of meat on the skewer will be done at the same time.
Don't Lean. If you want the juiciest, most flavorful kebabs, you're looking for the darker and fattier cuts of meat. Lean meat is prone to drying out easily, which is a recipe for easy failure. While fattier cuts are preferred, too much fat can be chewy and unpleasant with high heat cooking, so I usually cut out excess fat and sinew when cubing the meat.
Take them for a bath. Kebabs are often all about the marinade, which creates endless possibilities for flavoring. Marinades also often have a double purpose acting as a brine with enough salt in them—which further aides in ended up with the juiciest final products.
For beef I go with sirloin. Sirloin steaks are usually cut about an inch thick to begin with, have little fat, and have a beefy flavor a little more delicate than other cuts. This allows you to get the full flavor of the marinade with a nice underlying beefiness that isn't over powering.
You won't find a better friend than chicken thighs for kebabs. Sure breast meat cuts more nicely into cubes and is a bit better at picking up the flavor of a marinade, but it also goes from juicy to dry so fast there there's no room for error. Thighs, on the other hand, are way more forgiving, so if all your meat on the stick isn't cooking at the same time, you can rest assured the entire thing isn't a lost cause if you need to grill it a bit longer than expected. Since thighs aren't as thick as breasts, you may need to cut longer strips and fold them over the create better sized, and more secure, pieces for skewering.
Like with chicken, you want to look towards the darker and fattier cuts of pork for the best kebabs. I personally like pork butt, which takes a little extra time to cut around all the excess fat and gristle to get proper cubes for skewering, but the works is well worth it when you taste the extra flavor in the final product. Pork loin, while it is lean, does make for good kebabs too, but I recommend undercooking loin meat a bit to avoid it drying out.
Lamb ranges the spectrum from cheap and tough, to expensive and tender, so as an affordable middle ground, I go for the shank end of the leg. There will be some extra removal of sinew and fat from this cut, but the little work is well rewarded with kabobs that have a deep, rich flavor.
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mfs What about what's in between the meat, son? Veggie mountain!
josh! You'll have to start a new blog for that...Veggiewave!
kabob lover could you give me the marinade recipe for your sirloin kabob? it looks absolutely delicious and i would love to try it!
Josh @kabob lover This is the recipe I used for the sirloin kabobs. They are pretty delicious, the secret is in the Sprite :)
linda really find kabobs convenient, as baby boomer's age, eat less yet
meal with beef, chicken or pork with vegetables, rice or potato
... as well delish moist, filling not full. Would have appreciated M&M how purchase, product number.
Dawn I don't understand the reason for marinade. Shouldn't we just try to buy natural meat with good flavor?
Stephanie thanks so much! This article is pretty helpful. I usually stick to chicken. :) Love the disclaimer haha
Lisa Thank you for your posting! I am making kebabs today and found your info very helpful.
Chef Roberto Italian kebabs are a little different than American, we called it Spiedini each skewer as no more than .80 lbs like Arrosticini made of lamb check it out at rostigrill.us and Buon Appetito, Arrivederci
Ruby S. Pinkerton Shish kebab in the countryside - what could be better? Everyone would like to treat yourself and your loved ones succulent flavorful dish. But what a shame, and how the mood is spoiled if something inedible is obtained instead of the expected to the meal dishes. If a shish kebab is made from beef, failures and are not at all uncommon. To avoid disappointment, I can recommend good ways to shish kebab of beef pinkycloud.com/beef-shish-kebab-secrets-of-pickling-of-meat Marinades for shish kebab are divided in two groups. The first one is suited for delicate fish, chicken and soft pork. The second group is suitable for thicker meat which may become rigid and viscous during preparation on skewer. These marinades contain so-called aggressive additives: – citric acid, – vinegar, – red wine, etc. Here we are advised to cook the vegetables separately from meat. But vegetables should be cut quite large for a shish kebab, so they prepared both with meat and not burnt. Therefore, consider cutting the size and try not to cut the vegetables very finely.
Taylor Bishop Thanks for these meat tips! I like that you mentioned that you should marinate kabob meats because it can bring out a lot of flavor. I'm interested to learn how long this should be done, especially if it shouldn't be done for too long.