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Nothing says summer like the smell of grilled meat on a stick. Cooking shish kabobs on a gas grill is quick, easy and results in colorful and nutritious meals that look great at any outdoor barbecue. Shish kabobs are a barbecue staple and the perfect food for combining different meats, vegetables, and even fruits, to produce healthy and filling meals.
Gas grills are the ideal way to cook shish kabobs to juicy perfection; they fire-up quickly and offer precision temperature control to avoid burning or overcooking your skewers. However, to get flavorsome results every time, follow these simple prep and grilling tips.
1. Choose High-Quality Ingredients
High-quality shish kabobs require fresh produce that remains moist and tender when cooking on a gas grill. Talk to your local butcher about the best cuts for your shish kabob recipe, or explore the meat counter at the supermarket to find grass-fed, organic meats, which typically have a higher fat content and fuller flavor profile.
Shish Kabob Meats
Meat thickness and fat content play a significant role in the flavor and tenderness of your shish kabobs. Aim to buy meats that are between 1” and 1½” thick, making it easier to skewer the pieces. If meats are too thick, they can take a long time to cook, resulting in the other ingredients on the skewer burning or becoming tough.
Cuts of meat with a higher fat content help prevent smaller pieces of meat from drying out, so lamb shoulder, rib-eye steak, and chicken thighs are an excellent choice.
Shish Kabob Fruits and Vegetables
Meat adds plenty of protein to your meal, and fruits and vegetables offer the opportunity to include color, freshness, and crunch.
When selecting fruit and veg for your shish kabobs, you need to consider how the flavors combine with your chosen meats and how long they take to cook and how easy they are to thread on the skewer.
Bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, apples, pineapple, and onions, take around 15 minutes to cook when sliced into 1” sections. However, mushrooms can take up to 20 minutes to cook; longer than most cuts of meat. Cherry tomatoes and mangoes are popular options but tend to fall apart after 3-5 minutes on the grill.
Adding a range of fruits and vegetables to your kabob is a great way to add colorful foods to your skewer. There are two methods to adding fruits and vegetables to your kabobs, and which one you choose can determine the kind of kabob you create.
If you opt to cook fruits and vegetables on a different skewer from your meat, this method allows you to use a wider variety of ingredients. You can use thinner vegetables or fruits and add them to the oven several minutes after the meat skewer.
However, if you prefer the convenience of cooking your meats, fruits, and vegetables on a single skewer, ensure all the ingredients are ready to eat simultaneously.
Vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, and squash are an excellent addition to your kabob skewer. For a fruit selection, apples, bananas, and pineapple cook well in an oven, and these items combine well with meats and vegetables to create a delicious lunch or dinner.
Check out: Skewers reviews.
2. Shish Kabob Preparation
While choosing high-quality ingredients is crucial, taking a few extra preparation steps can ensure the most flavorsome results.
Cut the Ingredients the Same Size
Cutting the meat, fruit, and vegetables into similar-sized chunks is essential for ensuring all the ingredients cook at the same speed. Cube shapes about 1”-1½” thick are ideal.
For meats such as chicken that don’t separate easily into a cube shape, try to fold them over before adding them to your skewer.
Add a Marinade
Marinades allow you to experiment with different tastes, and there are a virtually unlimited number of ingredient combinations. You can opt for an Asian-inspired flavor using soy sauce, a five-spice powder, and ginger, or choose a Mediterranean theme with lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and fresh oregano.
You can marinate meat in as little as ten minutes or leave them overnight to ensure the flavors soak into every morsel. Acid-based marinades break down the proteins and connective tissue in meat, giving you more tender results. However, marinades with a high acid content can start to cook fish and seafood, so either omit the lemon juice, wine, or vinegar from your marinade or make a tangy dipping sauce to baste the kabobs on the grill rather than marinating.
Bring the Kabobs to Room Temperature
To guarantee an even cook, bring your prepared shish kabobs to room temperature by leaving them out of the fridge for an hour before cooking. If you have opted for seafood or vegetarian kabobs, you can skip this step.
3. Fire Up Your Gas Grill
Gas grills are a joy to use as fire-up quickly, and there is no need to use messy fire-lighting materials. Set the temperature on your gas grill to medium-high heat, approximately 400°F, and place your stacked shish kabob skewers directly onto the grill.
If your grill has independent zone controls, keep one side of the grill at a lower temperature. If any foods cook too quickly or burn, you can move them to the side to continue cooking over indirect heat. It’s also important to regularly turn your skewers every 3-5 minutes to ensure thorough cooking.
When meats look ready to serve, probably after around 10-12 minutes, you can use a meat thermometer to make sure they are safe to eat according to the FDA’s safe internal cook temperatures.
When learning how to cook shish kabobs on a gas grill, the precision temperature control means that you can adjust the heat levels to prepare meals when your guests are ready to eat. There is no need to allow food to go cold while waiting for everyone to gather around the table.
READ MORE: Best Rated Gas Grills.
4. Cooking Shish Kabobs On A Gas Grill
Shish kabobs allow you to cook healthy meats, vegetables, and fruits on a single skewer. Their versatility makes them the ideal choice for an outdoor cooking and beach grilling session with friends and family.
The convenience of using a gas grill means you can prepare delicious shish kabobs all year round, and you easily adjust the heat levels to prepare your meal to tender perfection.