Kabobs are simple enough. Get some skewers, stab some meat and veggies and go light the grill, right?

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Is that what a typical kabob looks like? Sure, you might use mushrooms or skip the shrimp or use red onion, but it’s pretty typical, right? I hate to put this to you, but you’re doing it wrong. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. I’m going to give you my top tips for the best kabobs.

First off, the biggest mistake people make is constructing a kabob like that one above. The meat and shrimp will be done way before the zucchini or the onions. Sure, if the portions are sliced perfectly, one could make a multi ingredient kabob so that all the components are done at the same time, but that takes years of practice to get right.

Tip #1: Use Ingredient Specific Skewers

If you don’t want dry meat and undercooked veggies, construct each skewer with only a single ingredient. So do skewers of meat only, shrimp only, peppers only, etc. Here’s what the skewers should look like:

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You will notice in that picture above that the zucchini is on wooden skewers while everything else is on my cool metal ones. Sorry, I can’t tell you where I got them. They were a garage sale find by my MiL who gifted them to me. I used wooden skewers specifically for the next two tips.

Tip 2: Always use two skewers rather than just one

If you want the meat or veggie to stick to the grill and thus not flip over with the rest of whatever is on the single skewer when it’s time to rotate, then by all means use just one skewer. The problem is the skewers are round and it’s easy for the meat, veggies or fruit to spin around rather than flip over when necessary so use two each time:

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Tip 3: Don’t bother soaking the skewers in water, use foil to keep them from burning up

Wooden skewers, even if soaked can easily dry out and catch on fire. Use foil to deflect the heat away from the handles. The moisture in the meat/veggie/fruit will keep the rest of the wooden skewers from catching fire, but the handles can easily blacken and possibly burn. Even if they don’t catch on fire, you don’t want that mess of the blackened skewers all over your hands. The zucchini is done, but the skewers still look pristine thanks to the foil heat shield:

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Tip 4: Buy pre-marinated meat to save time without losing the flavor

For these kabobs I used Smithfield Peppercorn and Garlic Pork Tenderloin:

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All I have to do is remove the tenderloin from the fridge and then the packaging, slice and skewer – instant kabob. And this leads directly to the next tip. Seriously, how good does that look:

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Tip 5: Reserve the marinade to brush on the kabobs

I poured the remaining liquid marinade into a small bowl, added a little vegetable oil to make it last longer and then used a basting brush to add that wonderful flavor to what will accompany that glorious pork:

Kabobs Enlarged - 3

The remaining marinade can be brushed on the meat as well since the meat was sliced. Brushing it on the sliced sides helps to add even more flavor to the pork tenderloin:

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Tip 6: Use two zone grilling with one hot side and one cool side to make sure all the ingredients are done at the same time

If all the ingredients are mixed and matched on the same skewers, then this is impossible. But if I have ingredient specific skewers, then I can put my zucchini on the top rack of my grill to stay warm as I grill the rest over direct, high heat simply because I put them on first to get the pictures of the wooden skewers over the foil and thus they cooked more quickly than the rest. This can happen even if you aren’t grilling up something for a blog post. So use the cool zone to keep the done skewers warm while the rest grill:

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Tip 7: Use tongs to flip the skewers, even if using wooden skewers

This is probably one everyone has learned the hard way. The metal skewers are lava hot, but even the wooden skewers are hot enough to burn. Use tongs to flip them.

I realize that there is something primal about placing a skewer full of meats/veggies/fruit on everyone’s plates, and the presentation of these will not be as good, but great presentation can’t compensate for overcooked meat. So slide all the ingredients into a bowl and have your guests scoop out their own helpings.

To Summarize:

Tip #1: Use Ingredient Specific Skewers

Tip 2: Always use two skewers rather than just one

Tip 3: Don’t bother soaking the skewers in water, use foil to keep them from burning up

Tip 4: Buy pre-marinated meat to save money without losing the flavor

Tip 5: Reserve the marinade to brush on the kabobs

Tip 6: Use two zone grilling with one hot side and one cool side to make sure all the ingredients are done at the same time

Tip 7: Use tongs to flip the skewers, even if using wooden skewers

Those are my top tips for the best kabobs. I hope each and every person who reads this, takes away at least one little nugget of information. If you do, please share with your friends. Thanks.

Full Disclosure ~ Smithfield provided the GrillinFools product and compensation to do this post. But as you know, we wouldn’t put anything on this site that isn’t really good and this pork tenderloin was outstanding inside and out. Save yourself some time and add a bunch of flavor to your next barbecue and give one of these a try.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

Oh, and here are a few more kabob pics simply because I liked them even though they didn’t make it into the narrative of this post.

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Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
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2 comments

Great tips, Scott! I like the tip for wrapping the tips of wooden skewers in foil to keep them from burning. I guess that’s just like putting foil on pig ears during a whole hog roast to keep them from charring 🙂

Reply

Weber,

Indeed. Foil is magical around the grill in so many ways…

…….Scott

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