Crazy for Kebobs

Kebabs are one of my favorite summer dishes. I first learned to make them in the boy scouts. My best friend Mark Giovannini and I would dominate the cooking detail and come up with some killer meals. We quickly evolved into junior gourmands. Kebobs became one of our favorites.

Of course, the recipes we feature on this blog are a bit more sophisticated than the boy scout days. With the help of a very talented chef Phyllis Kirigin who studied with James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey, Diana Kennedy, Grace Chu, Virginia Lee, John Clancy, Bert Greene and Scott Woolley, Phyllis and I have teamed up to create delights for you. Her input has elevated my blog to a higher place and hopefully, the recipes she creates for both our blogs in conjunction with my food porn make for a more enjoyable experience for both our audiences. On behalf of myself and the people who read this blog, we truly thank you, Phyllis, for supplying us with such amazing recipes.

With fresh spring vegetables in abundance and options of lamb, beef, chicken and seafood available, these kebabs are a perfect fit for your day. Served on a bed of rice, you’ve got a meal to savor.

8 -12 skewers needed, metal preferred; if wooden, soak in water ½ hour.

Ingredients for marinade:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine

½ lemon, juiced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t dried oregano

1 small onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Turkish bay leaf

2 lbs. lamb from the leg, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes

Ingredients for kebobs:

2 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares

2 green zucchini cut into 1-inch squares

1 red onion, layers peeled off and cut into 1-inch squares


Mix olive oil, red wine, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, onion, salt and pepper and bay leaf. Toss with lamb cubes and marinate in refrigerator for two hours but no longer than 24. Thread lamb cubes onto skewers alternating with sweet pepper, zucchini and onion. Brush meat and vegetables with olive oil.

Heat gas or charcoal grill to high. Grill kebobs 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each of 4 sides or until meat temperature reaches 145 degrees F. for medium rare. Don’t overcook or the meat will be dry.. Cook on direct heat on a charcoal grill but close the cover on a gas grill between turnings to hold heat to cook the kebobs fast enough. Quick hot cooking results is a charred outside but a pink center. Divide among 4 plates and serve on beds of rice. Serves 4.

Variations: Beef kebobs—Have your butcher cut ribeye or strip steak 1-inch thick. Cut into 1–inch cubes. No need to marinate.

Seafood kebobs—marinate scallops and peeled raw shrimp in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper for 20 minutes before skewering.

Chicken kebobs—for 4 chicken breasts halves, cut into 1-inch cubes. Prepare the following marinade:

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup olive oil

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup soy sauce

1 t ground cumin

2 t honey

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Black pepper to taste.

Place ingredients in a clear plastic bag, add chicken and marinate in refrigerate for 2 hours but not more than 24.

Vegetable variations:

Pineapple chunks

Cherry tomatoes

Summer squash


Photographer Bill Brady
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell
Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika