Build Your Own Kebabs: A Party on a Stick

Build Your Own Kebabs: A Party on a Stick

When you have your guests do half the work, you can skip most of the post-meal cleanup!

Barbeques are fun – but then there’s always the cavalcade of questions about who wants how many of which thing and whether or not it should have cheese on it. You’re using a piece of sidewalk chalk to make tally marks on the brick to make sure everyone gets what they ordered.

But you inevitably run out of black bean veggie burgers and end up with too many hot dogs and the pork tenderloin takes way longer than you thought it would. All the while people are filling up on chips and dip.

Kebabs (or kabobs, as we usually spell them in North America) are a great way to reduce some of that culinary chaos. You lay out the ingredients and the skewers. People stab their own meat and veggies. One person runs the grill. Everyone gets what they want.

Tip: Keep some Bounty paper towels on hand for easy cleanup post skewering.

So here are some suggested meats, veggies and fixins’ to set yourself up for a kebab-ulous barbeque.

1. Skewers
This should be the simplest ingredient for the barbeque, but you need to make sure you have them. You can buy a bunch of disposable wood ones – they’re usually made from bamboo – and if you do, it’s best to soak them in water for about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also invest in some reusable metal ones.

In North America, shish kebabs are the same thing as kebabs. Shish is simply the Turkish word for skewer. Now you know.

2. Meats
Pork, beef, shrimp and chicken all work well. A couple of important things to note: be sure to cut all the meat (and veggies) into similar sized chunks. You don’t want half of your kebab cooking fast than the rest.

And because you will have raw meat out for people to assemble their own kebabs, be sure everyone practices good food safety:

  • Keep the meat in a cooler or fridge until ready to grill
  • Keep the meats separate from any vegetables, and separate from each other
  • Provide tongs or forks for putting the meat on the skewers

3. Fruit and Veggies
Pretty much any vegetable will work for these kebabs. You can chop zucchini into 1.25-centimetre (1/2-inch) slices, onions into wedges, bell peppers into 2.5-centimetre (1-inch) strips and put out a bowl of whole cherry tomatoes. Pineapple, peaches and plums also work great.

Corn on the cob is also a great option, just microwave it for 2-3 minutes while it’s still in the husk. Once it’s cooled, remove the husk and silk, and then slice into 5-centimetre (2-inch) pieces.

You especially want these options available for any vegetarians joining you.

4. Sauces (optional)
Usually just a little salt and pepper, and a brush of olive oil, will be enough for your kebabs. But if you want to give people some more options, here are some sauces they can add. Simply drizzle over the kebabs before cooking. Then drizzle more over them during and/or after cooking. And have some for dipping if you want.

They’re delicious is what we’re saying.

Sweet Chili Sauce
Whisk together 1 cup of pineapple juice and 125 mL (1/2 cup) Asian sweet chili sauce.

Peach Sauce
Whisk together 45 mL (3 tablespoons) of canola oil and 2 mL (1/2 teaspoon) of cinnamon.

Mustard Maple Glaze
Combine 30 mL (2 tablespoons) Dijon mustard, 30 mL (2 tablespoons) olive oil and 15 mL (1 tablespoon) maple syrup.

5. Cooking
Cooking time will vary depending on the kebab, but generally you’ll need to grill each skewer about 10 minutes. If you can keep the lid closed – opening every 3 or 4 minutes to rotate the kebabs – that’s even better.

What’s your go-to kebab addition? Let us know in the comments below.


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