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For Quick Grilling, Think Kebabs

Fine Cooking Issue 45
Photo: Scott Phillips
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In my house, summer officially begins when our grill gets dragged out of the garage and set up on the patio. (It doesn’t matter that the date on my New York Times says April!)

Regardless of when summer starts at your house, its perennial promise is laid-back living and simple, sizzling dinners off the grill.

I first devised this dish with boneless lamb for my upcoming book and then discovered how much I like it with beef—especially when the beef was a thick rib-eye steak cut into chunks. I toss the big cubes of beef in a quickly assembled, Asian-flavored marinade. Although the cumin and coriander seeds taste best when freshly ground, you can save a step by using already ground spices. For this recipe, I like to squeeze the garlic through a press, which not only prevents having big, burnable pieces but is quicker, too. The beef can be marinated for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 8 hours to suit your schedule.

I use wooden skewers that I’ve soaked in water for at least 15 minutes to keep them from burning, but metal skewers eliminate the need for soaking. When threading the meat onto the skewers, I leave a little space between each piece so the heat can brown all the surfaces. I grill the kebabs over a medium-hot fire, but the soy sauce and brown sugar in the marinade can burn, so, when necessary, I move the skewers to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking before they’ve gotten too dark.

Finally, grilled vegetables are a perfect accompaniment. And while it’s popular to alternate meat and vegetables on the skewer, they often cook at different rates. To avoid ending up with barely cooked squash and collapsed cherry tomatoes, for example, I grill them separately to be sure that each gets the time it-needs.


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