If your grill hasn't gotten a fairly intense summer workout by now, it's time to get those flames going.
Now, if you want to be a total baller, and we're betting that you do, one of the most dynamic (yet, seemingly least appreciated) food items to get your grill going for is the kebab. Yes, if you do it right--skewering your food demands a little more flair and finesse than some of your other typical, just-throw-it-on grilled entrees. But that's what gives kebabs their whimsical edge and makes them a perfect blank (stick-shaped) canvas for creativity. Plus, food on a stick is always a huge hit at cookouts and parties because it's easy to hold and damn fun to eat. Here are 10 of our favorites:
We've reimagined the BLT into these genius grilled skewers. This take on the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich entails hickory-smoked bacon laced between cherry tomatoes and sourdough bread cubes on a skewer, all of which is charred to perfection, then served with wedges of grilled Romaine and a bright homemade aioli. To eat, I'd recommend unloading the contents of your skewer onto a plate with your lettuce (P.S. if you've never had grilled lettuce--buddy, are you in for a treat), then drizzle the whole shebang with aioli.
On the subject of things that are freaking delicious when grilled, let's talk about how bread chunks belong on your skewers some more. These seafood kebabs feature ciabatta cubes sandwiched in between pieces of halibut and salty pancetta. The bread acts as a sponge to soak up the flavors of its neighbors while simultaneously developing an amazing crispy exterior on the grill.
Something important to remember about these (and most) kebabs is that they can be prepped ahead of time. Whether you leave the assembled skewers to soak in a marinade or just let them chill in the fridge overnight, when you're ready to cook, it can be as easy as walking them out to the grill. We love these chicken skewers, left to tenderize and develop rich flavor in a spiced buttermilk marinade. If chicken is your game and you're hunting for even more amazing kebab recipes, look no further.
OK, so these aren't your typical grilled skewers... in fact, they're not grilled at all. But they do fall into the category of delicious things served on a stick. These kebabs are made with ground chicken, herbs, spices, and cheddar cheese. Each kebab is formed into a meatball of sorts that is then fried up golden crisp and served with mango chutney for dipping. These ballin' little kebab balls make for one hell of an appetizer.
Served with warm naan bread, this street food-inspired, Indian-style kebab can be served as an app or entree. Bursting with flavor, this 5-star recipe is definitely one to keep in your skewer arsenal.
These kebabs showcase how whatever veggies and protein you have on hand can make a stunning skewer. We're all about the variety of shape and color we see with these. Plus layering in lemon slices and allowing them to get in on the char also is a really pro move--this infuses your entire kebab with insane citrus flavor.
For a super simple, sweet and salty bite, take long pineapple wedges and wrap them with prosciutto before skewering and laying them on the grill. This recipe can also come together under the broiler, but if you've already got the grill going--might as well.
Two skewers are better than one--and even more so when one skewer is stacked tall with grilled peak-season peaches. Fruit on the grill takes on a lovely smokiness that is just indescribably good when matched with their inherent sweet juiciness. And when all of that is married with succulent grilled pork... well, it's damn good.
The kebab is a great place to learn about how various cultures say "meatball." In Lebanese, it is kofta; in Greek, it is kefta. Here, these skewered meatballs are titled with the Hebrew word for meatball, kufta. These skewers take on intense (and delicious) flavor from the array of spices used to season the ground lamb.
Obviously, you can't forget dessert. Strawberries and pound cake are easily skewered and dropped on the grill to get warm and toasty, then served with your sweet accouterment of choice--like chocolate sauce or tangy-rich crème fraîche. And hey, if you don't have any skewers on hand, check out some other fantastic desserts on the grill that can be whipped up without them.
So are you ready to embrace your new life as a shish-keballer? I think you are. Get to work using your haul of farmers market produce to string together your own legendary skewers. You really can't go wrong. If you try any of the recipes above or come up with your own custom creation, let us know. We'd love to hear about your kebab adventures in the comments below.
And, for grilling newbs (you know who you are), if you need a few tips and tricks to get you started, check out the simple tutorial below: