Best Beef For Kabobs


Okay, so you want the best beef for kabobs. You’re going to run into a lot of people who are trying to sell you the greatest cut of meat they’ve ever tasted. In fact, I’m doing that right now. I do want to suggest that you buy my minced beef package, but there are a few things you should know before you make your decision based solely on how awesome my product sounds. These tips will help you find the best beef for kabobs.

Best Type of Beef for Making Shish Kebabs

Beef Shish Kebab

Shish kebab is a dish of skewered and grilled cubes of meat that is popular all over the Middle East. Traditionally made of lamb, beef or chicken is more 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.

illustration that shows the best beef cuts for shish kebabs

Origins of Shish Kebab

The term shish kebab hails from Turkey—the word shish means skewer in English, and kebab basically refers to meat, vegetables, or other ingredients that served on a stick. While shish kebab may have Turkish roots, the dish is common all over the Middle East. Beef, lamb, seafood, chicken, and even goat may all be served on a stick. Vegetables are often placed on the skewer, but in the Middle East, shish kebab is often just meat. It’s an easy, economical, and traditional way of cooking meat.

Top of the Line

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.

If you’re willing to splurge and want an easy preparation and great taste, do go for the filet mignon and you will not be disappointed. On a side note, tenderloin/filet mignon is best served rare or medium rare so, if you prefer your beef more well done, it may not be necessary to spend the money on a tenderloin.

Less Expensive Beef

For those looking for great flavor on a budget, sirloin tips work well if they are marinated ahead to make them more flavorful. This is also an excellent option for those that prefer their meat more well done. Ideally, begin marinating your sirloin the night before or in a pinch, at least a few hours before firing up your grill. You can also buy large sirloin steaks and have the butcher cut your selection into 1-inch cubes for your kebabs. It’s usually free for the butcher service, even at grocery stores, and will save you some prep time.

Other Beef Cut Options

Chuck steaks or chuck roast can be chewy at best and downright tough when cooked quickly as a standalone meat selection. However, using citrus in a marinade for chuck helps break down the muscle in the meat, turning a relatively tough and inexpensive cut into a tasty and tender chunk of beef on a stick. Create marinades made with oranges, lemons or limes, which will help to both tenderize the meat and also infuse great taste.

Kebab Choices

Although beef remains one of the main choices when selecting meat for kebabs, don’t limit yourself. Consider using other meats, such as chicken, lamb, and even seafood. Avoid choosing more than one type of meat or even different cuts of the same type of meat on individual skewers because of varied cooking times. But a mixed grill of different proteins on different skewers makes a great selection for lots of different tastes.

Marinated Beef Kabobs + Awesome Beef Marinade Recip

These Marinated Beef Kabobs are flavorful, tender, and easy to customize! Also, learn the best type of beef for your kabobs, how long to grill your kabobs, and (what I think is) the best damn beef marinade recipe on the internet!

“Great marinade. Picky teenager ate without any A1 or other sauce. Definitely marinade for 24 hours. Meat becomes very tender and flavorful. Make sure your meat is around the same sizes and skewer vegetables separate from the meat. We cooked this on a charcoal grill. Amazing.”- Michelle, Pinterest User

We’ve loved grilling these beef kabobs this summer, so I’m excited to share with you how I get perfect beef kabobs on the grill every time; including my favorite beef kabob marinade, the best beef for kabobs, and how long to grill your beef kabobs.

Marinated Beef Kabobs | Steak Kabobs Recipe
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Why do I love kabobs so much? After a long day of work and school, my husband and son are SO hungry! I try hard to make sure my son gets a high protein dinner every night.

“Made this for the family this weekend. Marinated the meat for 24 hours. It was fantastic. The meat was flavorful, juicy and tender. This is a keeper!”

Marinated Beef Kabobs | Steak Kabobs Recipe

You can really make kabobs customizable and fun for the family. My mushroom-loving husband can load his skewers up with mushrooms, while my son and I typically stick with sweet bell peppers.

“I used the marinade on 2 sirloin strip steaks and it was delicious! I halved the recipe for the 2 steaks.”

It’s a ton of fun to get your family in on the action, and my son loves watching the kabobs that he made sizzle on the grill!

What is the best beef for kabobs?

Personally, I recommend using sirloin steak for kabobs. It’s economical, has excellent flavor and is lean and heart healthy!

I marinate my sirloin for about 24 hours to be sure that meat has time to tenderize. Flat iron and strip steak are also great cuts for beef kabobs.

Marinated Beef Kabob Recipe

But, if you want this recipe tonight for dinner and are unable to marinate, I would then recommend working with beef tenderloin. Beef tenderloin is a higher end, but naturally tender cut that does not need to be tenderized.

When I use beef tenderloin for kabobs, I still marinate the beef prior to placing it on the skewers, but only to add flavor. A quick, 30-minute marinade is all you need!

Marinated Beef Kabobs | Steak Kabobs Recipe

Tips for Perfect Steak Kabobs

Regardless of the cut of beef that you choose for your kabobs, there are a few more tips to make sure your beef kabobs turn out perfect each time:

  • Be sure to cut the beef into even pieces to ensure they cook through consistently. I like to cut my beef into about a 1 to 1.25-inch piece.
  • Use wooden skewers to be sure the beef stays a bit rare in the middle. Metal skewers conduct heat, so I only use them for chicken and vegetables.
  • Beef kabobs can be grilled to rare, medium or even well done, it’s your choice! I grill the steak kabobs over high heat for 8-10 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes, which typically results in medium doneness.
  • Allow the grilled beef kabobs to rest for about 5 minutes after removing from the grill. This allows the juices in the beef to re-settle, keeping it nice and juicy, with flavor in every bite!
  • Consider threading the beef and vegetables onto separate skewers so you can better manage their cook times, especially if you are a first-time kabob griller!
  • When choosing a leaner cut of meat, make sure you use a marinade, like the awesome beef marinade in this recipe!

Marinated Beef Kabobs – Beef for the Whole Family!

yield: 10-12 SERVINGS

prep time: 8 HOURS

cook time: 10 MINUTES

total time: 8 HOURS 10 MINUTES

Packed with protein and vitamins, Marinated Beef Kabobs are flavorful, tender, and easy to customize with the vegetables of your choice! Also, in this post, learn the best type of beef for your kabobs, how long to grill your kabobs, and my favorite beef kabob marinade!


For the kabobs:

  • 5 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1pound button mushrooms
  • wooden skewers

For the marinade:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash of hot sauce


  1. Put all marinade ingredients in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Add chunks of beef, and re-seal bag. Double bag if necessary, to prevent leaks, but be sure to remove as much of the air as possible before sealing. Allow the beef to marinade at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
  2. Before grilling, if using wood skewers, soak them in a bowl of water for 20-30 minutes prior to grilling.
  3. Prepare the vegetables by cleaning and removing stems, and slicing into wide, 1-inch pieces. For the mushrooms, wash gently with a damp cloth, and then remove about ¾ of the stem. Do not remove all the stem, the remaining stem will help the mushroom stay tight on the skewer.
  4. Thread the beef and vegetables onto the skewers.
  5. Grill over high heat for 8-10-minute total, turning every 3-4 minutes.
  6. Remove the kabobs from the grill, and rest on a plate loosely covered in aluminum foil before serving For 5 minutes. This will allow the juices within the beef to re-distribute, limiting the amount of myoglobin that escapes when you cut into the beef.


If you are shooting for medium rare or medium beef, make sure to use wooden skewers, which will not conduct heat like metal.

7 Tips & Recipes for Grilling The Perfect Kabob

Beef kabobs are a winning pick for your next backyard grill out. Quick and easy to make and extremely versatile with nearly infinite ingredient variations, kabobs are sure to delight guests of all ages. Seriously, who doesn’t love eating beef on a stick?! However, without basic grilling or skewering know-how, even the best-intended efforts can turn out dry or lackluster.  Kick up your kabob grilling game with these seven tips, along with recipe suggestions, that produce consistently delicious results.

1. Choose the Best Beef Cut for Kabobs

After years of trial and error, I’ve found that the various cuts of Sirloin are the best for kabobs. Relatively tender, without a need for extensive marinating, Sirloin (from top to tip) is lean and fits into a balanced diet — plus, it’s budget-friendly . Other good beef choices for kabobs are Flat Iron or Strip Steak and even Tenderloin.

2. To Marinate Or Not

Sirloin doesn’t require marinade to break down muscle fibers for tenderness. But, if you’d like to impart a distinctive flavor, pour a marinade (bottled brands are fine) on your beef cubes for about 15 to 45 minutes prior to grilling (discard marinade after use). Or, keep life super simple and let the beef flavor shine through with just a little sprinkling of salt and pepper or a steak seasoning. Pro tip: For food safety reasons, always marinate in the refrigerator. Never marinate at room temperature or outdoors when grilling

3. Co-mingle Consistently

Allowing beef and produce to co-exist on the same skewer is perfectly fine, and it also looks beautiful. Keep beef chunks, and similar-density vegetables and fruits cut into approximate 3/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch pieces for even cooking. For example, beef, onions, squash, or pineapple chunks would be paired well on the same skewer, as they can all handle the same heat and cooking time.

4. Separate Strategically

If you have distinctly smaller or larger ingredients or produce that is extremely delicate (like tomatoes), these should be skewered separately and removed from the heat earlier. Hearty ingredients like raw potatoes or chunks of corn-on-the-cob can be partially cooked prior to grilling and placed on their own individual skewers or threaded alongside the beef.

5. Give Space

Human nature directs us to cram all we can fit onto a single skewer. But, by leaving a small amount of space between each ingredient (1/4-inch), heat can better circulate and cook food evenly.

6. How Hot, How Long

Grill kabobs over direct heat of approximately 400°F. Kabobs with 3/4-inch cubes require approximately 8 to 10 minutes of total time on the grill, flipping halfway through. Bigger chunks will take a few more minutes. If you notice that some skewers are cooking faster than others, move them toward a cooler zone or to indirect heat. For medium-rare kabobs, the internal temperature should be 145°F after you’ve completed cooking. Protip: Kabobs will continue to cook a little more and gain a few more degrees while resting on the platter.

7. Make It A Party

Create a skewering station and ask guests to each bring a bowl full of their favorite produce prepped into bite-sized pieces.  You can also provide popular veggies such as mushrooms, colorful peppers, squash, tomatoes, and onions or experiment with Romaine lettuce, asparagus, brussels sprouts and more! Fruits that hold up well on the grill include pineapple, citrus with skin on and stone fruits — grapes and watermelon are good too!

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