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July 28, 2012

Columnist shares kabob tips

Simply put, I love kabobs. They are outdoor versions of fondu in a way, and fondu is retro these days.

I know this because I’ve see infomercials trying to sell fondu sets to the “x” generation who weren’t around in the ’60s and ’70s. Yep, those were the days.

Moving on, have you ever wondered where the word “kabob” comes from and what it means?

Technically, we are talking about “shish kebabs,” and there are more versions and spellings of this term than I have room for in this article. However, almost all food historians are in agreement that this dish can trace its origins to the Middle East, and quite possibly, Turkey.

Folklore suggests that inner city inhabitants would cut their meat into small bite-sized chunks and cook them on skewers, primarily due to the lack of cooking fuel (wood) in their neighborhoods.

Other legends trace it to Iranian soldiers roasting small pieces of meat on the ends of their swords.

Whatever the origin, I love our current day kabobs. Here are some time tested tips, specifically tested by me, which will help you make your next excursion into “kabob-world” a success.

1. When you go to the market and see those beautiful kabobs sitting in the case, feel free to gander, but do not buy them. The markets mix veggies and meat on the same skewer for

aesthetic reasons, not for grilling efficiency. Meats do not cook at the same rate as mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, pineapples or bell peppers. Therefore, group the meats on one set of skewers and the veggies on another.

2. Use a nice marinade on the meat. In today’s recipe, we used a very simple marinade that only needs 30 minutes of marinating time with the meat. Well worth it.

3. I know you have heard this from me before, but use indirect heat with some wood flavorings. It allows you to control the cooking process and infuse the meat and veggies with an authentic outdoor flavor.

4. Finish the veggies over direct charcoal to give them a little char. Specific directions below.

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