Beef For Shish Kabob

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I’ve wanted to do a ‘beef for shish kabob’ post for a long time now, but I can’t. You see, as tasty as beef is, it just doesn’t go well with shish kabob (I don’t think they even use meat on the sticks). Anyways, today we’re not talking about food. We’ll save that for another post. To cook the best Shish Kabob you need the best ingredients. You only want to use the finest meat for your family and friends.

Mom’s Beef Shish Kabobs

This shish kabob recipe is the one my mom has cooked for as long as I remember. Now that I live on my own, I can’t wait to go back home over the holidays to have this excellent dish. Mom would probably be upset that I shared the recipe, but it is so delicious that I think everyone should have a chance to experience it. Technically shish kabobs use lamb, so these should be called beef kabobs, but it’s our family recipe and this is what we call it.

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Mom’s Beef Shish Kabobs

In this video, we’ll show you how to prepare Mike’s mom’s beef and vegetable kabobs. This family recipe takes a few days to prepare, but most of it is hands-off time while the beef and mushrooms are marinating in the refrigerator for ultimate flavor. Then, skewer them up with bell peppers and onion and grill until nicely browned.

Recipe Summary

Prep:

20 mins

Cook:

25 mins

Additional:

16 hrs

Total:

16 hrs 45 mins

Servings:

4

Mom's Beef Shish Kabobs

Ingredients

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Original recipe yields 4 servingsIngredient Checklist

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds lean beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 mushroom caps
  • 8 metal skewers, or as needed
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into large squares

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Whisk soy sauce, vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl; pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add beef cubes and squeeze out excess air; seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  • Step 2Add mushrooms to the bag; squeeze out excess air and reseal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator another 8 hours.
  • Step 3Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  • Step 4Remove beef and mushrooms from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes; set aside for basting.
  • Step 5Thread pieces of green bell pepper, beef, red bell pepper, mushroom, and onion onto metal skewers, repeating until all ingredients are skewered.
  • Step 6Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently and brushing generously with the reserved marinade until nicely browned on all sides and beef is no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.

How to Make the Best Shish Kebab

Everything you need to know to make the best shish kebab or steak kabobs! This easy recipe comes with the best marinade and a few important tips to follow. Don’t forget to watch the video below!

Steak kabobs with bell peppers and onions served on platter

Souvlaki, brochette, satay, or kofta kebabs…If there is one thing that gets a universal “like,” it’s meat on a stick!

Kabobs are easy to prepare, fast-cooking, and open to awesome flavor possibilities.

And to me, steak kabobs, served next to a couple of bright salads and some baba ganoush or tzatziki, makes the perfect summer party!

What is the shish in shish kabob?

Shish kabob (or kebab, if you prefer), literally means “gobbets of meat roasted on a spit or skewers.”  

This awesome concept is Mediterranean in origin, the earliest mentions point to the Turks and Byzantine Greeks. The word shish means “sword” or “skewer.”

We’ve already covered other skewerd meats like kofta and chicken kabobs here. But to be honest, I have struggled with beef kabobs for a while; they are the trickiest to get right. Lots of trial and error lead me to today’s beef shish kabob recipe. And I learned that the key to the best beef kabob begins with selecting the right meat.

ingredients for beef kabob recipe

What meat is best for beef kabob?

Steak kabobs can be especially tricky because you need to select the right cut of meat. You want something tender and also flavorful. There are some choices out there, here is what I’ve learned:

  • Fillet mingon (or beef tenderloin)– this is the best cut for beef shish kabobs, it’s a tender and leaner steak and will not require too much work. But, it is not as robust in flavor as other cuts of meat, that’s why I still like to marinate it for a couple of hours in the fridge. The downside though is that it’s fairly expensive (I do use this cut in this kebob recipe, and I try to get it on sale whenever I can).
  • Sirloin- In particular sirloin tip. This is less expensive and is a good option because of its big beefy flavor. If you allow it a few more hours in the marinade (refrigerated), you will have better results.
  • Chuck Steak- I avoid this cut of meat when it comes to kabobs. While it’s a flavorful cut of meat, it can be way too tough and chewy for kabobs.

Beef kabobs marinade

There are so many ways to season beef kebabs, and no surprise here, I went for a Mediterranean-style marinade that relies on extra virgin olive oil and citrus from lemon juice and red wine.

But for best flavor, I first rub the meat in a mixture of spices:

  • Nutmeg
  • Green Cardamom
  • Allspice
  • Paprika

These spices, along with garlic and onions deliver bold flavor and give the steak kabobs an appropriately Eastern Mediterranean scent.

You can change up the spice mixture to your liking. You can try something with more Greek flavors, using oregano or rosemary, for example.

How long to marinate steak kabob meat?

How long to marinate the meat will depend on the cut you choose; anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.

For fillet mignon or beef tenderloin, you can do with 30 minutes of marinating time, but I like to go for at least a couple of hours in the fridge for more flavor.

For other tougher cuts of beef, I tend to go 4 hours or overnight, refrigerated.

How to cook shish kabob?

It is so easy to overcook beef shish kabob, so we’ve learned! 

But back to the choice of meat; as they say, tender meat, high heat! And make it quick!

Of course, grilling time will vary depending on choice of meat, size and thickness of the pieces, and how well you like your meat cooked.

I used fillet mingon here, cut into 1 ½-inch to 2-inch cubes. Because we like our kabobs medium, it took about 8 minutes in total to grill.

A few more grilling tips

  • Use bamboo skewers to avoid over-cooking. I used metal skewers in this post but have found that because metal transfers heat well, it can tend to overcook the meat. If you’re new to cooking beef kebabs, bamboo/wooden skewers will give you more control here, just make sure you soak wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour before using them.
  • Use double skewers if you need more control to help you turn the kabobs over the grill.
  • Keep some space between the meat pieces on the skewer, this will help them cook more evenly.
  • Paint the kabobs with more of the marinade as they cook. Don’t discard the marinade so fast, use it to paint the kabobs as they’re cooking for more flavor.
beef shish kebab on large paltter with parsley garnish

What to serve with beef shish kebab?

Beef shish kebabs are usually served with a number of mezze sides and salads. Here are some ideas:

Amazing Shish Kabob Recipe (with Beef)

Beef Shish Kabobs mean it’s summertime! Even though the prep is quick-and-easy, they always come out so darn impressive. Fire up your grill!!!

We partnered with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., on behalf of the Beef Checkoff to show you how to make great tasting Beef Shish Kabobs!

Shish Kabob with beef and veggies

This summer, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is bringing families across the country—from the farmers and ranchers who raise beef to the consumers who are enjoying it—to unite around our shared love of beef on the grill as we declare in unison, United We Steak.

Simply put, shish kabobs are a dish of cubed and skewered meats. In this popular Middle Eastern dish, each hunk of meat is typically separated with chunks of onion and bell peppers. The end result is a beautiful skewer full of flavor and color.

Shish kabobs are a grills’ best friend. Let’s get started! 

What Is the Best Beef Cut for Shish Kabobs?

Top Sirloin is your best choice for shish kabobs as it’s both flavorful and juicy. If you are looking for more options, sirloin tips, strip steak or even chuck steak also work great. 

How do you Cook Beef Shish Kabobs?

  • Cut beef into cubes and marinate for at least 6 hours. For tender cuts, marinate it for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Cut your veggies. Season them liberally. 
  • Thread your beef and veggies on to a skewer. 
  • Cook them on a hot grill! 
  • Allow the skewers to rest to soak in the juices. Bon appetit! 
Beef, sauce and steak seasoning
Shish Kabob with beef and veggies on a baking sheet
Shish Kabob with beef and veggies

Prepare Veggies for Kabobs

  • Onions: You really can’t go wrong here. Use yellow, red or white – whatever you like best! For the kabob, cut the onion into 4 pieces and again in half so the pieces come out triangular. 
  • Bell Peppers: Use red, yellow and green – the more color the better! Just make sure to cut them into similar-sized pieces as your beef. This way, the beef and veggies will hit the grill evenly, giving you perfect grill marks. 
  • Mushrooms: You can use white bottom, cremini or portobello. Try to pick mushrooms that are similar in size to your beef pieces so you don’t have to trim them down. 

Tips for Beef Kabobs

  • Preparing your skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, allow them to soak in water for at least 10 minutes before grilling so they don’t burn. You can also snag an affordable set of metal reusable skewers to prevent waste! 
  • Marinating your beef. This step is a must and the flavors will prove it to you. Give your beef enough time to marinate – it makes all the difference. 
  • Checking doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure beef is properly cooked. It takes all the guesswork out! Your internal temperature should read 145 °F for medium-rare.
Shish Kabob with beef and veggies next to the grill
  • Preparing your grill. Make sure that your grill is clean before you get cooking. Residual grease or fat from your last bbq can cause flare ups that will burn your kabobs! Use a grill brush to do a quick scrub. 
  • Crank up the heat. Kabobs cook best on medium-high heat. Make sure to preheat your grill to promote even cooking.
  • Don’t overflip your kabobs. Flipping your kabobs too much can ruin the integrity of the skewer and cause it to fall apart. Try to stick to one flip per side! 
  • Give it a rest. Allow your kabobs to rest for at least five minutes before serving. This will give the beef enough time to soak up all those wonderful juices.

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