Grilled Shish Kebabs: A Flavorful Summer Staple

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Shish kebabs, those skewered morsels of marinated meat and colorful vegetables, are a summertime staple. Perfuming the air with enticing aromas and sizzling on the grill, they’re perfect for backyard barbecues, potlucks, or a simple weeknight meal. But don’t be fooled by their seemingly straightforward nature. Mastering the art of shish kebabs takes a touch of knowledge and a sprinkle of technique. This guide will equip you with everything you need to become a shish kebab savant, from selecting the right ingredients to achieving perfect char.


Shish Kabob
Shish Kabob

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes (can be substituted with lamb, beef, or tofu)

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (full-fat or low-fat)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Marinade Magic:

    1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk well to create a smooth marinade.
    2. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or ideally, overnight for maximum flavor penetration.

    Skewer Symphony:

    1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.
    2. Thread the marinated chicken pieces, bell peppers, and onion wedges alternately onto the skewers. Aim for a colorful and balanced arrangement.

    Grilling to Perfection:

    1. Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking. Place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook for 8-10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender-crisp.
    2. Baste the kebabs occasionally with any leftover marinade for extra flavor and moisture.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):

    Calories: 350 (approx.)

  • Protein: 30g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g

  • Please note: These are approximate values and can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.


    With their versatility and crowd-pleasing appeal, shish kebabs are a guaranteed hit. This recipe provides a delicious foundation, but feel free to experiment with different marinades, vegetables, and proteins to create your own signature kebabs. Now, get grilling and enjoy the symphony of flavors dancing on your taste buds!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. What can I substitute for chicken in kebabs? You can replace chicken with lamb, beef, shrimp, tofu, or even a combination of these options. Just be sure to adjust the marinating time based on the protein’s thickness.

    2. Can I use pre-cut skewers? Pre-cut skewers are perfectly fine, but using wooden skewers allows you to customize the size and arrangement of your kebabs.

    3. How do I tell when the kebabs are cooked through? The best way to determine doneness is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F.

    4. What sides go well with shish kebabs? Pair your kebabs with a refreshing salad, fluffy couscous, flavorful rice pilaf, or grilled vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

    5. Do I have to marinate the kebabs? While marinating enhances flavor and tenderness, it’s not strictly necessary. However, for optimal results, marinating for at least 30 minutes is recommended.