Grilling in the summer is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. Whether you are going to grill the traditional burgers, or would like to try some spicy grilled eggplant, grilled food is a surefire route to a good meal. However, many people’s grilling experiences can get wrapped up in arguing about what they are going to cook, or have trouble planning. This can make the grilling experience more trouble than it is worth. Thankfully, there is an easy solution to all your grilling troubles.
Two Words – Shish Kabobs
Shish kabobs are a solution that allows every person to pick what they want, spice it as they choose, and enjoy the process of helping make their own food. They are healthier than a lot of the fatty, meaty traditional grill foods, too. If you are looking for a grill plan that will please everyone, shish kabobs are the way to go. No one has to stand around cooking food for everyone else, since each participant grills his or her own to taste.
You can choose to make vegetarian shish kabobs, or include meat. If you choose to use meat, be sure to observe all the appropriate safety precautions, and choose a meat that is easy to skewer. Tough meats will not make good kabobs. You will not need much, since it will be eaten in conjunction with vegetables. That makes the shish kabob plan a lot cheaper than a regular meaty grill meal, too.
The Does and Don’ts of Grilled Vegetables
When it comes to vegetables, remember that some work better than others do. Avoid hard veggies such as potatoes and carrots unless you partially precook them. Zucchini and summer squash rounds are excellent on the skewer, as are sweet onions and bell peppers of all colors. Remember to cut your vegetables into chunks at least an inch square. You may choose to make them bigger, as many vegetables shrink when grilled.
Cherry tomatoes are preferable to sliced tomatoes, which tend to disintegrate on the grill. If you use mushrooms, make sure you use them whole, and choose large ones. Otherwise, you may lose them to the flames as they fall from your skewer. Eggplant can be used if you soak it in salt water first, then pat it dry. Otherwise, it could turn out soggy or bitter.
Plain grilled veggies or meats are boring on their own. Spices are needed to bring out their true flavors. Have a number of different sauces and spices that everyone can choose from to dip their veggies in. Pepper, salts, lime, cilantro, and chili powder are great starts. Bottled marinades, barbeque sauces and other premixed sauces are delicious. Try a chutney or stir-fry sauce for something fun and different. Cover the entire range of flavors, from spicy to mild, sour to sweet to savory. That way, everyone will be able to get what they like, and try something new.
Vegetable Side Dishes
Since you have a pretty full meal already available in kabobs, you will not need much in the way of side dishes. Cold salads and fruit platters are great. Consider flatbreads like pita or naan to wrap the kabobs in for a nice twist on an old standby. Keep all your side dishes light. You want to complement the kabobs, not overwhelm them.
Shish kabob grilling does not need any special utensils. Skewers will be required, of course. They can be made of bamboo or metal, depending on your preference. If you choose bamboo, soak them before grilling to reduce the risk of fire. Remember that hot foods do not work well on Styrofoam plates. Use paper, or regular washable plates.
Before cooking, make sure that all your ingredients have been cut and prepared. Put the side dishes out, and make sure that there are enough serving utensils. Preheat the grill, and you are ready to begin. Assemble the kabobs by adding whatever ingredients you like to your skewer. Do not pack them too tight, or they will not cook thoroughly.
After you have chosen vegetables and/or meat, you can season the kabob to your taste. Grill until everything is cooked through, and simply slide the kabob off the skewer to eat. If you are cooking with vegetarians, but some people will be eating meat, it is polite to reserve a portion of the grill for vegetables only. Kabobs are a summer grilling solution that will make everyone happy!
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