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.
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.
These luscious kebabs are an adaptation of the mishkaki from “Feast: Food of the Islamic World” by Anissa Helou, reinterpreted by Milk Street. Mishkaki are grilled skewers of marinated meat from Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. So transport yourself to another land while in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a laid-back feast of Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.
Zanzibar’s cuisine represents a fusion of the people and cultures—Persian, Portuguese, Arabic—that once colonized or settled in the area. Chunks of chicken are marinated in an aromatic mixture of their spices including ginger, garlic, tomato paste and lemon juice before they’re skewered and grilled.
Don’t worry if the cut pieces of chicken are irregularly shaped. As long as they’re similarly sized, shape isn’t important. Don’t crowd the skewers on the grill grate. Allow some space between them so heat circulates and the chicken cooks quickly and without steaming.
While it was suggested to serve with warm naan and plain yogurt for drizzling; we paired ours in combo with another Mediterranean dish Bulgar Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms. Suffice it to say, we fell in love with this tasty meal. And the leftovers were just as good!
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Add the chicken and mix with your hands, rubbing the seasonings into the meat, until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
While the grill heats, thread the chicken, alternating with the pepper and onion pieces, onto 6 to 8 metal skewers. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook without disturbing until lightly charred on the bottom and the meat releases easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip the skewers and cook, turning every few minutes, until charred all over and the chicken is no longer pink when cut into, another 8 to 9 minutes.
Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.
It’s likely you’ll have the ingredients for the wet spice rub already in your pantry. Among them would be paprika, which lends a fiery red-orange color, not to mention a sweet and slightly fruity taste with very mild heat.
While this approach uses one thick pork chop, you could use two thinner chops (I wouldn’t go less than one-inch thick); just be sure to keep a close eyeball on the temperature because they will get done much sooner.
Well, as luck would have it, tornadoes were in the area with two actually touching down only miles from our house. Just as The Hubs took the chop off the grill pan to let it rest, we were instructed to take cover immediately, so we spent about 15 minutes down the basement before getting the all clear—but at least the meat got to rest!
As you can decipher from the stormy weather, we were not able to use our outside grill, so we took the next best option and that would be “Grilliam” our cast-iron grill pan. It works basically on the same principal as a gas grill, with grate marks and all!
1 1-3⁄4″ to 2″ (about 1.5 lbs.) boneless pork chops
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper until a thick paste forms.
Coat both sides of the pork chop in the paste and set it aside on a plate, or in a ziploc bag, to marinate while you warm up the grill—or for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat your grill to medium-high.
Grill your pork chop for 10-12 minutes per side with lid down, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees (test with an instant-read thermometer). After removing from the grill, let rest on a moated cutting board for 5 minutes tented with foil.
Slice against the grain in 1⁄2-inch slices, arrange on a platter and pour over any accumulated juices.