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Practical Alchemy: Grilled Kebabs

Kebab

Sourced from Middle Eastern culture, the kebab is a quick way to meld flavors by grilling meats, fruits, and vegetables together over an open fire. Kebabs are an easy out after a long day - at its simplest form you can chop some ingredients, thread them onto skewers, and grill with your meal ready to eat in 10-15 minutes.

When preparing the kebab almost any ingredients can be used. I'm a big fan of mixing beef, bell peppers, onions, apples, and squashes myself, although great results can be achieved with fewer or more exotic ingredients alike. I like to make sure I have a little mix of everything--sweet, spicy, and savory.

If using ingredients that cook at drastically different speeds, it may be advisable to put those ingredients on separate skewers to allow them to cook for varied periods of time. If all of the ingredients being combined cook at approximately the same temperature, then interweaving ingredients on the skewers can give the flavors a chance to blend during the marinating and grilling. Bear in mind that larger chunks of meat will take longer to cook. If you're considering pairing with tender vegetables, cut the meat into thinner or smaller pieces.

Once the meat, vegetables, and fruits are skewered, drizzling them with marinade can add a blast of flavor. Typically I prefer a more simple preparation with some oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper whisked together and poured over the kebabs 5-10 minutes prior to cooking. I re-drizzle the marinade a couple of times while rotating the kebabs during the cooking process to infuse more flavor and help keep the ingredients moist and succulent.

Unlike larger cuts of meat, the smaller bite-sized chunks used in kebabs won't need to rest after grilling because the juices won't need to redistribute and the temperature will already be more consistent. Kebabs are ideal for serving hot of the grill, either plated in their skewered state or quickly slid off the skewers and plated as a pile of pure deliciousness.

--Sparky

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