As you are aware, Shish kebab is a dish of skewered and grilled cubes of meat that is popular all over the Middle East, and made of lamb, beef or chicken, they also are commonly found in the United States. When selecting the type of beef to make your kebabs, you have unlimited choices but ultimately you want your beef on the skewer to be tasty, tender and not break your budget.
If cost is not a hindrance, the best cut of beef for kebabs is definitely filet mignon. Other excellent beef options include Porterhouse, and if it looks good at the butcher or in the meat counter, also try a rib-eye. They all grill nicely and don’t require a marinade to make them tender. But while those cuts meet the criteria of best tasty beef, they’re pricey and will take a chunk out of your wallet.
For those looking for great flavor on a budget, sirloin tips work well if they are marinated ahead to make them more flavorful. Our choice, flap meat. Historically, flap meat was one of the cuts of beef that butchers kept out of the meat case for a reason: they were saving it for themselves. Much like skirt steak and hanger steak, it’s becoming more widely known and popular, and therefore easier to find in markets everywhere. (Costco carries flap meat.)
With its great beefy flavor, flap steak has a similar texture and grain to flank, hanger and skirt steaks. It tends to come to the market at 3 to 4 pounds, whereas skirt and flank steaks average around 2 pounds or less. Price-wise, flank and flap steaks are about the same.
We had 2 pounds of flap meat instead of the 18 ounces originally called for, so we also increased the mushrooms from 8 to 12 ounces. Another alteration to the recipe was adding 6 whole smashed garlic cloves to the marinade. Our kebabs were served with a minted couscous (recipe below), and a baby arugula side salad that also contained mint.
Grilled Steak, Mushroom and Onion Kebabs
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 lbs. flap steak, cut into 24 cubes
- 12 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, trimmed of stem
- 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into 12 wedges
- Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic cloves and rosemary into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add steak to a bowl, and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap (or place in a ziploc bag) and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour (longer is better).
- While beef is marinating, soak 12 bamboo skewers in water.
- To assemble skewers: Add 1 piece of steak, 1 mushroom and onion wedge. Continue by adding the same. Continue until all 12 skewers are complete.
- Preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and clean and then oil grates. Add skewers Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes and then flip skewers. Continue cooking for additional 2 minutes.
- Transfer to serving plate. Garnish with fresh rosemary if desired.
Adapted from a recipe from Paula of Bell’alimento for The Mushroom Council
- 3⁄4 cup tri-colored couscous
- 1⁄2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 cup water
- 3⁄4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.
- While the kebabs are grilling, bring 1 cup water and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the couscous, peas, and lemon juice mixture. Cover, remove from heat and let stand at least until the peas are tender and the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, at least 10 minutes.