No matter if your favourite kabob is beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or seafood, we’ve got grilling tips and a cooking temperature guide, along with visual cues, for you to keep in mind to grill the best kabobs ever. Goodbye, dry-as-dust skewers! Hello, cooked-to-perfection, juicy kabobs!
Get ready to grill kabobs 101
A few handy tips, tricks, and must-knows to implement before and during kabob grilling in your quest to achieve BBQ skewer perfection.
- Firm is your friend; soft fruits, veggies, and cheeses fall apart when grilled.
- Hearty herbs like rosemary make great skewers. Pluck a sprig clean, skewer marinated meat chunks on the stem, and grill.
- Planning a party? Marinate and assemble kabobs ahead of time so that when guests come over, you’re set to grill and serve.
- To keep food from sticking, scrape down the grill, brush or spray it with vegetable oil, then turn on the BBQ. Oiling a hot grill presents the danger of flare-ups as you work.
- When it comes to heat levels, staying within a medium range of 190°C to 230°C (375°F to 450°F) is your best bet for kabobs.
- Over charcoal, move the food closer to or away from the hottest coals. Don’t forget about the upper rack; it’s handy for keeping food warm without overcooking it.
- Let meat and fish skewers rest for five to 10 minutes post-grilling to help keep in juices.
- For all fish and seafood, extended exposure to a powerful acid, such as lemon juice, can “cook” (or cure) the flesh, changing the texture, a technique used intentionally in some seafood dishes, like ceviche.
- The most convenient way to marinate food is to immerse it in the marinating liquid in a resealable container; just make sure to distribute the liquid evenly before popping it into the fridge. Turn the meat, veggies, or seafood occasionally, to ensure even coverage.
- Stay food safe by discarding any marinade that has been in contact with raw meat. If you plan to use some of the marinade for basting, or as a pour-over or dipping sauce, separate the batches early on and label them to avoid confusion.
Skewer grilling temperature guide
We break down the ideal internal temperatures for various types of protein and offer visual cues to keep in mind for the best grilled kabobs possible.
Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) when pierced with a meat thermometer. Look for pieces of chicken that are opaque instead of translucent. And since kabob chunks are smaller cut than whole-piece poultry, to maintain maximum juiciness, cook skewers over gentler heat.
Beef and lamb kabobs
Beef and lamb should reach an internal temperature of 63°C (145°F) for medium-rare meat, 71°C (160°F) for medium and 77°C (170°F) for well-done meat. The edges of the kabob pieces should be browned, but it’s not necessary to be browned all over. Remember, a high-heat sear can dry out beef and lamb kabobs since they’re cut into smaller pieces than a steak or chop. Cook over medium heat, turning frequently, for tastier kabobs.
Pork should reach an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F) for both pork tenderloin and belly pieces. The tenderloin pieces are ready when they’re golden, while the fat in the pork belly is glossy and its layers of meat have deepened to a mahogany brown. FYI: All pork cuts need to cook to the same temperature of doneness, even pork belly.
Shrimp should reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). Raw shrimp turns from a translucent greyish colour to an opaque white and pink when cooked. Nervous about grilling shrimp? Don’t be, ’cause when cooked over dry heat, like on a BBQ, shrimp is much more forgiving than if simmered in liquids like soups. You can even grill shrimp until it has golden edges and it’ll remain succulent and tasty.
When grilling salmon, grouper, halibut, or any other firm fish, look for an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F). Use medium or gentle heat and look for salmon pieces to turn a darker orange when cooked. Firm fish pieces go white and may be browned at the edges. Work with a deft hand so the fish doesn’t fall off the skewers.
Now you’re ready to grill to your heart’s content, and we have 80 kabob flavour pairing and recipe suggestions to make this summer the most BBQ-worthy ever! And don’t forget that we have ready-made kabobs in our Meat and Seafood departments, with your choice of marinades and vegetables to customize your own skewer creations.