What Cut Of Beef For Shish Kabobs


What cut of beef is best for shish kabobs? There are a few different ways you can approach this question.

When you make steak and onions or use it as a filling for a wrap, there’s nothing better. However, when you grill it up on a skewer, the flavor takes second place to texture. How should you choose the best cut of beef for shish kabobs?

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:

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.

Kabobs with a side of tomato salad

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.

Lebanese Steak Shish Kabob

This Steak Shish Kabob recipe is flavorful and easy to customize. The Lebanese beef kabob marinade helps make them tender, juicy and delectable. 

This Steak Shish Kabob recipe is flavorful and easy to customize. The Lebanese beef kabob marinade helps make them tender, juicy and delectable. 

Summer is here, which means one thing! I now make everything I can on the grill! I love a good Kafta Kabob or Salmon Kabobs, but there’s something special about a flavorful grilled steak skewer.

Use sirloin for a beefy and affordable cut, or your favorite cut of beef. With a simple marinade these steak kabobs are tender and juicy. It is the perfect recipe for summer grilling when you need an easy meal that doesn’t heat up your kitchen. But, If you don’t want to fire up you’re grill, why not try to my Air Fryer Steak Tips recipe!

You’ll love these Lebanese Shish Kabobs for entertaining and cook-outs. Just keep in mind they’ll go quick so you may want to do a double batch.

The Beef Kabob Marinade

I went for a Middle Eastern steak shish kabob marinade that relies on extra virgin olive oil for tenderizing the beef chucks. But for best flavor, I mix the meat in a mixture of spices: allspice, cinnamon and black pepper and cover them in olive oil. The flavor in the marinade is really what makes these beef kabobs extra special! It’s simple to make, so don’t skip it.

ingredients for Lebanese beef shish kabobs

I like to marinade the beef for at least 4 hours, in the fridge before threading and cooking. Letting them marinade is what turns a less expensive steak into an impressive dinner. Using a higher quality cut of beef, won’t need as much time marinading.

The Secret to Shish Kabob Threading

Just kidding – there is no secret at all! I just like to follow these tips for perfect steak shish kabobs:

  • Cutting the pieces in uniform sizes is the key to a great beef shish kabob! It ensures all pieces are perfectly cooked, and you don’t end up with some well done and some rare on the same skewer.
  • 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. Just make sure you soak wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour before using them.
  •  Don’t smush everything together tightly. Thread pretty loosely so heat can get in between – this helps cook the steak tips more evenly.
  • If using veggies in your skewers, cut them into a similar size pieces as the meat, to encourage even cooking. I like threading the beef and vegetables onto separate skewers so I can better manage their cook times.
  • Beef kabobs can be grilled to rare, medium or 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.

Recipe Variation:

These kabobs are only stacked with beef, as I like to grill vegetables on the side. But, you can use a variety of vegetables to add to the skewers, like zucchini cut into half moons, cherry tomatoes, and yellow squash, onions and bell peppers.

shish kebab

Storage And Reheating

SERVE: You can keep these at room temperature for about an hour before they need to be stored in the refrigerator.

STORE: Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

FREEZE: Once cooled, place kabobs in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

REHEAT: To reheat beef kabobs, place the kabobs in aluminum foil. Place them in a 300-degree oven for about 20-30, or until heated through.

Recipe FAQ’s

What is best the best steak for shish kabob?

When you are marinating steak, you have different options!

Sirloin- in my experience is the best cut of meat for kabobs. It is what I used for these Mediterranean kabobs, it is a naturally tender piece of meat that is lean, and it is more affordable than other cuts.  If you allow it a few more hours in the marinade (refrigerated), you will have better results.

Generally, the less expensive your steak, the more time you should allow for marinating and tenderizing.

Beef Tenderloin (or Fillet Mingon): I recommend this kind of meat if you’re making kabob for dinner and you don’t have time to marinade. Beef tenderloin is a higher end, but naturally tender cut that does not need to be tenderized. Follow the same marinade recipe, to add flavor. But no need to leave them marinade for a long period of time.

beef shish kabob - Lebanese recipes

How long to marinate steak kabob meat?

How long to marinate the meat will depend on the cut you choose; anywhere from few minutes to 24 hours.

For fillet mignon or beef tenderloin, you can do with a few minutes of marinating time, I basically let mine marinade while I prep veggies for grilling, or a salad, but I like to go for at least a couple of hours in the fridge for more flavor if I had the time.

If using sirloin steak, you will need to marinade for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours (refrigerated), the longer the better!

Beef Shish Kabobs on the Grill

Kabobs (or kebabs) are a favorite of ours.  It’s hard not to love meat on a stick.  Or veggies, if that is your thing, even though the term shish kebab (şiş kebap in Turkish) translates to “grilled meat on skewers”.  Originally this was a Turkish dish of marinated lamb that was skewered and grilled over a charcoal fire.  But today, we skewer and grill everything from eggplant to chicken.

It is often recommended to choose food that will cook at the same rate when putting them on the same skewer.  We like the intermingling of flavors so we try to adjust the size of the meat cubes to cook along with our vegetables, with a few exceptions.  Cherry tomatoes are best cooked separate since they will cook so quickly.

Beef Shish Kabobs on the Grill

Beef Shish Kabobs with green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Who doesn’t love meat on a stick?

Prep Time40 mins

Cook Time12 mins

Marinade2 hrs

Total Time2 hrs 52 mins

Course: Main Course

Servings: 4

Calories: 242kcal


  • 1 pound beef sirloin top sirloin, or filet
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 10 large white mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper optional
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine burgundy or pinot noir
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil



  • If you are using bamboo skewers, start by submerging them in water using a dish or a paper towel to hold them underwater.  Let them soak for 30 minutes.  We use double skewers as it makes it easier to turn without having the ingredients spin on the skewer.  You can use two bamboo skewers or buy some double prong skewers.
  • Make the marinade.In a stainless or glass bowl large enough to hold the meat, add the wine, salt, sugar, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix the marinade.
  • Cube itCut the steak into 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Add the cubes to the marinade bowl. Let it rest for 2 hours in the fridge. Then remove it from the refrigerator and let it come back to room temperature like we did in the filet mignon recipe. Let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes.
  • Cut the onion in half and then cut each half into quarters. Cut the green pepper open and clean out the seeds. Cut the pepper into 1 inch squares (or close to square as you can). You can leave the mushrooms whole, but for larger mushrooms, we recommend you cut them in half. Optionally you can marinade the veggies in Italian dressing.
  • Skewer eweWell, skewer beef in this case. Lamb kabobs are a different recipe. We like to alternate between onions and peppers, as they add great flavor to the meat while cooking. We also throw the mushrooms in every now and then. The onion, peppers and meat play well with the mushrooms. It’s nice to see the meat and vegetables getting along so well.
  • After assembling the kabobs, brush some oil on the skewered meat and veggies at this point, to keep them from sticking.
  • Prep the grillIf using gas, heat the grill on high for 10 minutes prior to cooking.  If cooking on coals, it is best to use natural hardwood charcoal.  Add enough coals to cook over a high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Grill ’emPlace the kabobs on the hot grill directly over the flame or coals.  Keep the lid open since we are cooking on direct heat.  Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating 90 degrees every 4 minutes, until the meat is cooked to desired level of doneness.  Remove the kabobs from the grill and let them rest for 3 or 4 minutes before serving.
  • Meat on a stick!


Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 653mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1042IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 3mg

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