How to make BBQ skewers
When you combine the beloved Aussie BBQ with the pleasures of eating with your hands, you have a winner. This is where skewers come into their own. This is a step-by-step guide to making a sensational skewer.
What vegetables are good on skewers?
Choose vegetables that will hold their shape once softened and cooked. Visually, aim for a rainbow of colour. Vegetables such as red, green or yellow capsicums are ideal. Other options include zucchini, mushrooms, red and white onions, and cherry or grape tomatoes. Fruit such as pineapple, peaches and even sliced apple also work well.
What type of protein can I use for skewers?
- Choose proteins that are sturdy enough to stay on the skewer and can withstand hot and fast cooking without drying out. Not all types of meat and seafood will work.
- For seafood, opt for meatier fish such as swordfish, monkfish and salmon. Whole shellfish like prawns or scallops are also great.
- Chicken thighs are more forgiving and will stay juicier than breast meat.
- Choose red meats that have some marbling such as tri-tip or skirt steak so they don’t dry out during cooking. Avoid leaner cuts such as ribeye or fillet.
Keep all ingredients about the same size
This will ensure that they cook evenly on the skewer. You want to properly cook the meat, so cut that first and then cut the vegetables to match.
What size should I cut the meat?
Depending on the meat being used, aim for anywhere between 3-5cm cubes. If it’s too small, the meat will shrink and become dry. Too large and the outside will burn or overcook and the centre will remain raw.
What skewers should I use?
- Metal skewers are best for foods that take longer than 5 minutes to cook. These can be bought at supermarkets and kitchenware stores. Be careful turning them as the whole skewer heats up while cooking and can burn your hands easily.
- Bamboo skewers come in various lengths and thicknesses. To prevent the skewers from burning while on the BBQ, soak in water for at least 30 minutes before adding the food.
- Hard, sturdy herb stems, such as rosemary, make great skewers for some foods. Cut long lengths of the herb, remove all the leaves from the stem apart from a small amount on the end to make it easier to turn the skewer. You will need to push a hole through the food with a metal skewer before threading the food onto the stem. Other good skewering herbs could include lemongrass or even bay leaves.
When do I add marinade to the meat?
At least 30 minutes before cooking, but overnight will impart more flavour. The only exemption is seafood. Marinate for a maximum 30 minutes. Always drain off the marinade and reserve it for brushing onto the meat while it is cooking. Discard any leftover marinade or boil it up and thicken to make a sauce.
What is the best method for putting food on skewers?
Allow for 3-4 cubes of meat per skewer, with 2-3 pieces of vegetables or fruits between each piece of meat. If you’re not using any vegetables, add enough meat to fill two thirds of the skewer. Don’t squash the food tightly together. Thread loosely so some heat can get in between each piece, helping to cook the meat and vegetables more evenly.
What is the best way to cook skewers?
On a BBQ grill or flat plate. Alternatively, use a cast iron char-grill plate on your stove top.
How do you BBQ skewers?
- Prepare your BBQ or grill plate. Use a wire brush or scrubber to scrape off any previous charred food debris, wipe it down with paper towel and brush the plate with any vegetable oil.
- Always preheat your BBQ or char-grill plate for at least 15 minutes. This step is essential to prevent the skewers sticking.
- Brush or spray the kebabs themselves with non-stick spray or oil.
- Put the skewers on the BBQ or char-grill and cook for 2 minutes undisturbed or until they release easily from the grate. A properly prepared BBQ or char-grill should naturally release meat once it has been seared. If it is sticking, give it another minute and don't force it.
- Turn over and brush with marinade. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes to cook off the marinade. Watch it carefully and do not move away as they can burn easily.
- If using metal skewers, make sure to use a cloth, tongs or silicon glove as these will become very hot. For bamboo skewers, use tongs or hands.
- Transfer hot and cooked skewers to a platter and partially cover with foil or lid. This allows the meat to continue cooking. Leaving a gap in the lid will prevent the meat from steaming and losing its lovely charred attributes. Skewers should only need about 10 -15 minutes to rest.
Things on sticks are always a crowd favourite, especially with kids at a BBQ. Use it as a fun way to introduce them to new ingredients, flavours and textures. Discover skewer recipes below.
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