Best Beef For Skewers

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Finding the best beef for skewers can be quite tricky, which is why I have just written a post on this very topic. Click the link below to find out more and to read our top tips on choosing the best beef for skewers.

It’s steak on a stick! It’s so much fun to cook and even more fun to eat. Get the finest quality beef skewers you can find at the supermarket and you’ll be making these your own often.

Best Type of Beef for Making Shish Kebabs

Beef Shish Kebab
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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
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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.

Beef Kebab Marinade

Packed with flavor and so easy!

the pioneer woman's beef kabob marinade recipe

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At the height of grilling season, beef kebabs are one of the most fun dishes on the menu. Grilled steak dinners with vegetables are great on their own, but put them on a stick and it’s time to party! The secret to a perfect beef kebab is a great homemade marinade, and we’ve got one for you. Made with fridge and pantry staples, it’s easy to whisk up in mere minutes, but tastes like it took all day. New to marinating? Here’s a quick 101 on how to marinate and grill kebabs like a pro.

How do you make a marinade?

The secret to a good marinade is to make sure it includes salt, acid, fat, and flavor. This simple marinade leans on balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire for flavor, salt, and acid; olive oil, which helps the meat absorb the flavors and keeps it from sticking to the grill; plus a little honey and mustard to help the marinade come together. Feel free to substitute ingredients based on what you have on hand. Trade out the balsamic for apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar; swap the salty Worcestershire for soy sauce; trade the honey for brown sugar.

How long can you marinate beef kebabs?

For most cuts of beef, marinate for at least one hour and up to overnight for the best flavor and texture. Kebabs are great for marinating, because the smaller pieces of meat allow the marinade to soak almost all the way through from the surface to the interior of the meat.

What cuts of beef are best for kebabs?

Since there’s a marinade involved, it’s okay to use a slightly less expensive cut of beef, like sirloin, which can handle sitting in the marinade for up to six hours. If you only have an hour to marinate, opt for a pricier, more tender cut, like New York strip. If you’re really short on time (and money is no object!) splurge on beef tenderloin, which only needs a quick 30-minute soak in the marinade.

Can you assemble beef kebabs ahead of time?

Absolutely! After the beef has marinated for the desired amount of time, thread it onto the skewers with the vegetables, then transfer them to a sealable container and refrigerate them overnight. Let them come to room temperature before grilling.

Can I make beef kebabs on a grill pan?

Sure thing! Just be sure to open a window and turn on the vent fan, because grill pans can get a little smoky. Follow Ree Drummond’s tips for cooking steak on a grill pan and give the beef kebabs the same treatment, but skip the rotating and just let the kebabs cook for about 4 minutes on each side.

YIELDS:6 – 8 servings

PREP TIME:0 hours 30 mins

TOTAL TIME:1 hour 30 mins

Ingredients

FOR THE MARINADE:

1/3 c. 

balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. 

Worcestershire sauce

1/3 c. 

olive oil

garlic cloves, grated

1/2 tsp. 

ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. 

red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tbsp. 

honey, divided

2 tbsp. 

Dijon mustard, divided 

FOR THE KEBABS:

1 1/2 lb. 

sirloin or New York strip, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 oz. 

baby portobello mushrooms, large stems removed

red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. For the marinade: Whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon each of the honey and mustard in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to a small bowl; whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon each honey and mustard to make a glaze. Set the glaze aside. 
  2. For the kebabs: Add the marinade and the meat to a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and massage it gently to coat all of the meat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 to 450°). Thread the meat, mushrooms, onion, and peppers on the skewers, alternating as you like.
  4. Grill the kebabs uncovered until grill marks form, about 4 minutes. Turn the kebabs, and brush the grilled side with half of the glaze. Continue grilling until grill marks form on the bottom side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn the kebabs, and brush with the remaining glaze; grill to desired degree of doneness (about 135° for medium), about 1 minute more.
  5. Let kebabs rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.

Garlic Butter Steak Kabobs

Tender & savory steak kabobs are great for a barbecue entrée and a deliciously easy way to prep ahead!

These skewers have a flavorful marinade and grill up tender and juicy on the BBQ! Once cooked we drizzle with our fave garlic butter (optional) before serving! So good!

cooked Garlic Steak Kabobs on a plate
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Grilled Garlic Steak Kabobs

There are so many reasons to love kabobs!

  • This recipe is a true main dish, made with simple red onion between lots of juicy bites of steak!
  • This dish goes well with grilled vegetables or even potato packets, a whole meal on the BBQ!
  • The simple marinade works well on other meats such as shrimp (only marinate a short time), so why not make some surf n’ turf?
  • Who doesn’t love kabobs in the summer? Marinated meat & veggies on the grill, yes, please!

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Ingredients/Variations

The marinade for this dish is both simple and flavorful!

STEAK Use sirloin steak cubes, or for something super special go for ribeye. Kabobs don’t need the most expensive cut of meat, the marinade helps to tenderize it!

MARINADE Butter adds flavor and brows well while olive oil keeps the consistency of the marinade. Lemon juice and tomato paste both tenderize and add amazing flavor.

GARNISH Don’t skip the fresh parsley butter garnish! It really adds extra flavor and color, and there’s nothing like fresh parsley and melted butter drizzled on freshly grilled steak. Yum!

process of making garlic steak sauce
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How to Grill Garlic Steak Kabobs

Tender and delish steak kabobs are simple to make with this fail-proof recipe.

  1. Combine marinade ingredients (per recipe below).
  2. Prepare steak & marinate for up to two hours.
raw steak cut into cubes
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  1. Thread meat onto skewers, alternating with chunks of onion.
  2. Grill, turning occasionally according to recipe instructions.
raw steak on bamboo skewers
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Once grilled let the steak kabobs rest a few minutes and then drizzle with the remaining butter mixture.

No Grill? No Problem!

This recipe is as easy as anything to bake in the oven, too. Here’s the simple method:

  1. Prepare the recipe below as directed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cook kebabs for 20-30 minutes, turning once.
  4. Rest meat for at least 5 minutes to seal in the juices. Drizzle with extra melted butter & parsley before serving.

For medium-rare steak, cook until internal temperature is 135°F, for medium it should be 145°F, and for well-done 150°F.

pouring garlic sauce over cooked steak kabobs
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Tips for the Best Kebabs

  • If using wooden skewers, just be sure to soak them in water before using, to prevent the wood from burning. It makes all the difference!
  • Take the skewers off of the grill a few degrees before you reach the desired temperature, the temperature will continue to rise as they rest.
  • Don’t skip resting the meat before serving.

How to Use Leftovers

If there are any leftovers, they will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

They taste great chopped or sliced into a chef’s salad or steak salad. Or simply warm the skewers up in an air fryer or frying pan. It also tastes great added to Quick & Easy Beef Stroganoff or Steak Tacos.

Frozen cooked steak will maintain flavor for 2-3 months in the freezer

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