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Chris Amirault

Kebabs, Satays, & Skewers--Cook-Off 24

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Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our twenty-fourth Cook-Off, we're making kebabs, satays, and skewers. For a while, we toyed with the idea of calling the topic by the more generic and descriptive name, "Meat on a Stick." But we went with three possible interpretations of meat on a stick instead -- to which, of course, you should add your own.

snowangel was kind enough to dig out a few jillion related topics here on eG Forums, including:

So, techniques? Skewer styles? Seasonings? Favorite meats? Sauces? Let's see 'em all!

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i'm counting myself in on this one, because i) i was about to go get groceries on my "main street" anyway, ii) i want to try my food-photography skills with a new digicam, and iii) it's been a long time since i had koubideh (Iranian/Persian spiced, ground meat kebabs, shaped around skewers, grilled).

recipe here... i will probably make a few personal changes and post them...

besides the variable spicing and meat mixes, something that intrigues me about these is that i understand some people use minute amounts of baking powder to make the mixture "fluffier", but i have had them with too much b.p., and it can taste pretty rude, so i'm starting with 1/4 tsp. per lb. of meat.

to be served with Tah Dig/Tah Cheen, the lovely fluffy Persian rice with the golden, crunchy bottom layer. :wub:

edit to add: oh yeah, and a nice, over-ripe, roasted tomato to be split over the rice and koubideh.


Edited by gus_tatory (log)

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I'm in too. gus_tatory - I worked on a recipe similar to the one you've linked to last year. I think you may have helped me with it.. here.

Last week I was working on some marinade recipes, and went a little crazy. Three versions:

gallery_25849_641_40361.jpg

On the left: Lamb shoulder, marinated in garlic, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, sweet paprika, ground ginger, grated onion, olive oil, a little salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.

In the middle: Rib-eye marinated in garlic, soy sauce, fresh ginger, orange zest and juice, brown sugar, canola and sesame oil, Mirin.

On the right: Chicken breasts, garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, sweet paprika, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil.

All were skewered on bamboo. I used the gas BBQ to grill them. Had some guests over to taste - the beef was hands-down the favorite. Lamb was great, chicken flavourings were off.

Because I wasn't thrilled with the chicken skewer, I tried it again a couple of days later: This time I used a mix of breast and leg meat - same ingredients, just different proportions. Much better.

gallery_25849_641_163381.jpg

Much better! (Ignore the rosemary and bones on the left - they belong to some lamb chops)

I keep saying that I need to get some flat, metal skewers. This may be the thing to make me get them!

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I'm in too. gus_tatory - I worked on a recipe similar to the one you've linked to last year.  I think you may have helped me with it.. here.

...

I keep saying that I need to get some flat, metal skewers.  This may be the thing to make me get them!

Pam R--

your photos look tasty and eminently edible :smile: , and yes (d'oh!), now i remember that thread, and my concerns about the ground mix falling off the skewers, baking powder, etc. i hope i was of some small assistance...

i had intended to gas grill too. they have flat metal skewers at my dollar store, but i'm wondering about sticking.

in any case, time to go out and buy some ingredients with Pam R's photos as inspiration!

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What are the advantages of using the metal skewers instead of soaked bamboo skewers? I always use the latter and have great results.

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Easier on the grill? In prep? At the table?

I ask bc I like the slight friction that the bamboo provides; the metal seems too slippery to me.

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I find they are easier to deal with in prep and in removing the meat from the skewer when serving.

Depending on what kind of meat you are dealing with, the wooden stuff tends to stick to the meat, particularly seafood and chicken. It's not nearly as much a problem with red meat. If you are leaving the meat on the skewers on the plate it's not as much as an issue but I like to take them off.

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My bamboo ones burn up about 90% of the time. Ground chicken is soft and falls apart easily - the thin bamboo have a tendency to pull right out of the chicken. Since the metal are wider, it seems they may act less like dental floss when you try to lift them off a tray when still raw(you know how you can use dental floss to cut things? just pull up?).

I have no idea if they do work better - but it seems like a good time to try it out!

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Pam, do you soak 'em a good 30-45 minutes before using them? You can also wrap the ends with foil if you want.

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I soak them. Oh, do I soak them. I'm too lazy.. I mean short on time to wrap them in foil.

Honestly, the burning isn't a huge issue. If I'm making them for myself or the family, who cares? But it would be nice to not have charred ends!

I'm telling you.. I think the metal's the way to go. Unless I try them and find they suck.

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SPIEDIES!!!!!!

johnnybird isn't due back till friday or saurday so i have time to marinate my lamb in my spiedie sauce and make some pita and grill them puppies.........

serve with a tomato salad... maybe some tzsiki sauce?

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ummm.. eh?

spiedie sauce? what's that? (I don't want to know what the puppies are!)

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spiedie sauce?  what's that? 

spiedies, etc ... :wink:

good info on spiedies :huh:

Spiedies (pronouced Speedies) are a very yummy grilled "sandwich" that originated in or around Broome County, NY ...Meats such as pork, chicken, beef, lamb or venison are cut into bite size pieces and marinated in spiedie sauce for 24 to 48 hours. Then the meat is skewered like shish kabobs and and grilled.

grill them puppies has nothing to do with baby dogs ... expression connoting the lamb chunks as used here ... :laugh:

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Oooh me first.

Dinner tonight was Chicken Kebabs.

Here’s my stab :raz: at kebabs.

I had a party last week and a guest left behind 1 lb key limes, so I threw the juice of a few in a baggie with the following for a fast Lime, Chili, and Cilantro marinade:

4 key limes, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

Heaping tablespoon and a bit more of Chili powder

1 teaspoon, maybe more freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground Cumin

Handful, maybe ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced

A good glug of Peanut oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Next time I’ll add some minced green onion

gallery_42674_3316_417501.jpg

Squished the marinade in a bag with strips of chicken breast sliced against the grain. I would have preferred thighs, boneless and skinless, but they didn’t look very good at my local butcher shop. I let this sit at room temp for 45 min. to soak in the goodness.

gallery_42674_3316_385615.jpg

I use bamboo skewers soaked for a bit in very hot water. I skewered the chicken with hunks of green pepper and seasoned with more salt. They didn’t take more than 6 minutes over a hot grill. They looked very pretty and green on the grill with all that cilantro.

gallery_42674_3316_13399.jpg

These kebabs were really tangy, thanks to the key lime, with lots spice and a nice cilantro/chili bite. It would have been perfection with some green onion in that marinade though. I was happy I managed not to overcook them, because by the time I had dinner going it was very dark on my terrace.

I had to keep grabbing a kebab and hitting it with my giant mega-watt flashlight my father gave me as he said, “In case something bad happens in Manhattan you can grab this flashlight and run”. My poor Dad.

I served them with a rice recipe I make often from Chris Schlesinger’s License to Grill(awesome grilling cookbook by the way) with garlic and cumin seed that is so fast and tasty. I also had a bit of roasted eggplant from the night before, avocado and a lettuce/cuke salad.

I didn’t have a problem with my bamboo skewers burning. I just soaked them for maybe 30 minutes in very hot water. I think maybe hot water permeates the wood a bit faster. I’ve even microwaved water until boiling and then soaked the skewers in it, but I very hot tap water works fine for me.

I also have never heard of spiedies, but I'd like to get to know them better. :smile:

Next is some sort of lamb kebab!

-G

edited to add photos


Edited by FoodMuse (log)

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Excellent topic for a cookoff!

gallery_28832_1138_9353.jpg

I made some seekh kebabs (ground lamb/beef) a while back, and this picture is one of my favorite food/cooking shots. No flash, so the flames would show -- thus a longer exposure time, and an oddly appealing out-of-focus/motion blur. This was my desktop image for the longest time...

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Oh, I love kebabs. Perfect summer food! I had some really good chicken kebabs in a restaurant recently, where the meat wasn't cubed chicken breast but boned chicken thigh meat, which made all the difference, they were very succulent.

Sri Owen has a recipe for ground duck satay in her book New Southeast Asian food that I have been longing to try.

Also this might be a good time to make some of my favorite peanut sauce!

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Tonight we made Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce:

gallery_2_4_24475.jpg

Our "Satay" Spice seasoning was Penzey's Bangkok Blend with some Cumin added, and we dusted the chicken with that and marinated it in some coconut milk. It was then grilled on the Weber.

The peanut sauce I made using a container of Emerald Cocktail Peanuts whizzed into peanut butter using the Vita-Mix, with soy sauce, chicken stock, rice vinegar, black pepper and Sriracha, and a 1/2 teaspoon of the Penzey's's Satay spice mix. Hell thats practically Kosher.

This is served with Coconut/Chicken rice, Cucumber Salad and Teriyaki Cauliflower.


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

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Here are my chicken sate (satay), nekkid as they are, eventually were dressed with a thick chunky spicy peanut sauce or alternatively dunked in a chopped shallot, birdseye pepper sweet soy sauce.

gallery_11814_2555_34345.jpg

I generally like a mix of white and dark chicken chunks, but this was all breast meat. Served with steamed rice and acar pickles of cucumbers and shallots.

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Nobody told me it was satay night! They look great (all of 'em)!

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Here are my chicken sate (satay), nekkid as they are, eventually were dressed with a thick chunky spicy peanut sauce or alternatively dunked in a  chopped shallot, birdseye pepper sweet soy sauce. 

gallery_11814_2555_34345.jpg

I generally like a mix of white and dark chicken chunks, but this was all breast meat.  Served with steamed rice and acar pickles of cucumbers and shallots.

:wub: Awww, that's what I want mine to look like!

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IMG_1496.jpg

Two types of kababs. On the top are chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt/garlic/herb mix and on the bottom are kofta kebabs made with beef, onion, spices and herbs.

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If one were to make beef kabobs, what cut would one use? Want meaty tasting, with some chew. Tenderloin need not apply. And, what cuts are good for pork?

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What are the advantages of using the metal skewers instead of soaked bamboo skewers? I always use the latter and have great results.

I seem to recall learning somewhere along the line that the metal skewers transfer the heat differently than the bamboo and so can affect the cooking time or manner.

Or something like that.

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... and on the bottom are kofta kebabs made with beef, onion, spices and herbs.

Those look fantastic -- those are the kind of kebabs I TRY to make. Please, could you share the recipe? What kind of beef, spices and herbs? Cilantro? What kind of skewers do you use for those -- flat ones (I've always got problems making the meat stick to the skewers, so I use some flat bambo skewers)?

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