Grilled Beef Kebabs with Vegetables are flavored with a delicious, tangy marinade. They make a perfect main for cookouts!
The calendar has officially clicked over to September, a reminder that we have only a few fleeting weeks left of Summer. We try to pack as many cookouts as we can into these last weeks, starting, of course, with Labor Day.
Cue the meat on sticks.
Kebabs on the grill are the very definition of summer food, in my book. They’re also ideal for meal-prep: cube the meat, cut up the veggies, and make the marinade ahead of time. Then enlist your partner and/or kids to skewer it all up!
“Kebab” is a dish with roots in the Middle East containing cubed meat and vegetables. The most familiar kebabs involve marinated meat cubes that are skewered and then roasted or grilled. The star protein can range from lamb and beef to pork, goat, fish, and even tofu.
I’m using a classic mix of vegetables here: red onion, green bell pepper, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes. Zucchini (courgette) would also be delicious, as would eggplant (aubergine).
Kebab or kabob?
English-speaking countries often use “kabob,” the Anglicized version of the word. I let you make your own call: if you say it out loud, the difference is so subtle that nobody will notice. But I do know some people who are very particular about using kebab…
Assembling the beef and vegetable skewers
If you’re using wood skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 20 minutes. We also like to briefly marinate the vegetables while the skewers soak.
Now, I know it’s fun to think of everyone having their own skewer, complete with meat and vegetables. But the reality is that the vegetables will be overcooked by the time the meat reaches proper doneness. So we assemble three types of skewers: meat, hard vegetables, and soft vegetables. Be sure to reserve some of the vegetable marinade: it’s delicious drizzled over the finished vegetables and meat!
For this recipe, our hard vegetable skewers include bell pepper, onion, and whole mushrooms. Cherry tomatoes go on the soft vegetable skewer because we like them caramelized, but not exploded and mushy (which will certainly be the result if you put them on the same skewer as the meat).
How to make beef kebabs on the grill
Prepare your charcoal or gas grill for indirect heat. (You can see how Phil prepares the charcoal grill for indirect heat in my recipe for Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms.) Keep the time you’ll need for grill prep in mind when you when you plan to make this recipe.
Once the fire is hot (you want about 400º), place the meat and hard vegetable skewers directly over the heat and close the lid. You’ll grill the meat skewers 3–4 minutes per side for rare (a total of 8–12 minutes will give you a range of rare to medium).
The hard vegetables will take less time: we like some char on ours, so we flip after about 3 minutes and repeat. If you notice that one skewer is cooking more quickly than the others, you can move it toward the indirect heat side of the grill. After 6 minutes total, we move the hard vegetable skewers to the indirect heat. The tomatoes take very little time to cook: if you like char, put them over direct heat for 1 minute each on two sides, then move to the indirect heat until soft (but not exploding). Otherwise, you can cook them entirely over indirect heat.
making beef kebabs in the oven: your broiler is a reverse grill!
When it’s rainy or cold outside, don’t forget about the upside-down grill in your oven! Simply position the rack in the middle of your oven and turn your broiler to high. Place the beef skewers on a baking sheet and set it onto your rack. Ovens will vary, but the approximate time for medium rare is a total of 12–14 minutes, with a flip halfway through. For well done, you’ll be closer to 20 minutes. Grill the vegetables just long enough to develop a bit of char on 2 sides, 3–5 minutes per side for the hard vegetables, and 2–3 minutes for the soft vegetables.
We served our marinated vegetable beef kebabs with couscous, but rice would also be perfect. Other sides you might consider are my Cucumber-Onion-Tomato Salad, Meal-Prep House Salad, or Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad.
That’s it! I hope you and your family enjoy the rest of the summer and make the most out of what’s left of grilling season.
Happy Labor Day!
P.S. Kebabs are a fantastic potluck or cookout option any time of year. Be sure to check out my Virtual Memorial Day Potluck Recipe Roundup! Included are 45 favorite (GORGEOUS) potluck recipes—plus ideas for hosting a safe potluck celebration during this time of social distancing.
Marinated Vegetable-Beef Kebabs
FOR THE MARINADE
- 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Maggi seasoning sauce
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tbsp dried minced onion
- 2 tbsp dried Greek oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce - (a.k.a. sambal oelek; optional)
FOR THE KEBABS
- 2 lb beef tenderloin - trimmed and cut into 1 1/2–1 3/4" cubes (see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 large red onion - peeled and cut into eighths
- 1 large green bell peppers - stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms - (also called baby portobellos)
- 8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes
- Prepare the marinade. Add approximately half of the marinade to the beef; reserve the other half for the vegetables. Marinate beef, refrigerated, overnight (or for 30 minutes at room temperature). Marinate the vegetables for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you're using bamboo skewers, soak them in water while the vegetables marinate.
- Assemble beef skewers, hard vegetable skewers (onion + peppers + mushrooms), and tomato skewers. Reserve the vegetable marinade. Grill the meat directly over the coals for 3 minutes per side with the lid closed, for a total of 8–12 minutes (see Recipe Note #2). While the meat cooks, lightly char the hard vegetable skewers for 3–4 minutes on two sides, then move to indirect heat. Place the tomato skewers over indirect heat until soft, but not exploded, 5–7 minutes, flipping once. Remove skewers from grill. Rest the meat for 10 minutes. Drizzle the meat and vegetables with the reserved vegetable marinade; serve.
- You can also use sirloin steak.
- 8–12 minutes corresponds to approximately rare–medium.