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Simple Suggestions for Killer Kebabs

Posted on August 7, 2014

Those lazy days of summer are coming to a close, but before that happens you’re bound to enjoy a boom of zucchini, peppers and tomatoes in your garden. What better way to show off those vibrant colors and enjoy a fantastic dinner than by tossing some veggie and chicken¬†kebabs onto the grill? Follow these 7 suggestions for killer kebabs your family and friends will love.

Soak Your Sticks: Whenever you’re using wooden skewers it’s wise to soak them in water before threading with chicken and veggies. This prevents the wood from splintering into your food and makes assembly easier and safer.

Marinate Before Assembly: Once you’ve cubed your chicken, marinate in an airtight baggie. Marinating prior to threading onto skewers allows chicken to get evenly coated on all sides. After assembling, brush any remaining marinade onto completed skewers just before firing up the grill.

Color Coordinate: When it comes to kebabs it’s all about color. Choose a variety of vibrant veggies that have contrasting colors and string onto your skewers in a pattern. If you’re using more than one type of protein, say chicken and shrimp, use one pattern for chicken and another for shrimp for an even more appetizing effect.

Bring on the Heat: Preheat your grill before you begin cooking. Remember that kebabs are composed of a series of small pieces of meat and veggies so they cook through quickly. Cook over medium-high or high heat, turning occasionally, in order to brown evenly and achieve that fire-roasted flavor we all love.

Give ’em Some Space: Leave room between each piece that you thread onto your skewers. This empty space allows heat to travel evenly throughout your kebab so it’s evenly cooked and even the centerpieces get nicely charred.

Size Matters: Cut chicken and veggies into pieces that are big enough that they don’t dry out on the grill, but not so big that they take a long time to cook (or bend the stick because they weigh too much!). About 1 1/2 to 2-inches is the ideal size to result in juicy chicken pieces that are pleasantly charred by the time the rest of the veggies on your skewer are also tender.

Timing is Everything: The truth is you can kebabs almost any vegetable. That said, it’s best to pick vegetables that have similar cook times on the grill. Zucchinis, onions and peppers are the classic combo. When choosing denser vegetables like fennel, artichokes, corn or butternut squash, consider parboiling in order to ease onto the skewer and complete cooking while chicken, shrimp or beef is still tender and juicy.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Kebabs

1 cup chopped basil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 lemons, juiced

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup olive oil

1 1/2 lbs.  FreeBird Chicken Breast, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 zucchini, cut into 2 inch chunks

2 yellow squash, cut into 2 inch chunks

1 large red onion, wedged

salt and black pepper to taste

Combine basil, garlic, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Stir in olive oil until thoroughly mixed. Toss in chicken so that it is evenly coated, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Skewer chicken, peppers, zucchini, squash and onions onto 12-inch wooden skewer in an alternating pattern. Brush with any remaining marinade and season all over with salt and pepper.

Grill skewers over medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through. Serves 6-8.