Choose the Best Beef Cut for Kabobs
Relatively tender, without a need for extensive marinating, Sirloin (from top to tip) is lean and fits into a balanced diet — plus, it’s budget-friendly . Other good beef choices for kabobs are Flat Iron or Strip Steak and even Tenderloin.
Shish kebab is a dish of skewered and grilled cubes of meat that is popular all over the Middle East. Traditionally made of lamb, beef or chicken is more commonly found in the United States. When selecting the type of beef to make your kebabs, you have unlimited choices but ultimately you want your beef on the skewer to be tasty, tender and not break your budget.
Origins of Shish Kebab
The term shish kebab hails from Turkey—the word shish means skewer in English, and kebab basically refers to meat, vegetables, or other ingredients that served on a stick. While shish kebab may have Turkish roots, the dish is common all over the Middle East. Beef, lamb, seafood, chicken, and even goat may all be served on a stick. Vegetables are often placed on the skewer, but in the Middle East, shish kebab is often just meat. Its an easy, economical, and traditional way of cooking meat.
It makes sense that shish kebabs roots trace far back. Its a simple dish spread through nomadic cultures (via Bodrum) and adapted to ingredients from around the world. Although traditionally prepared in Turkey using lamb or mutton, other proteins like beef, chicken, seafood (like swordfish steaks), alongside veggies (like peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini) are also fit for the skewer. Since fire-cooked meat is prone to drying out, its essential to pick a cut with enough fat to keep it juicy, but wont prolong the cooking time, states Masterclass. So when preparing shish kebabs using beef, whats the best cut to use? Lets break it down.
Alas, a core of the shish kebab is its convenient, unfussy nature and not as a showcase for luxurious beef. Some reach for other tenderloins, but their lack of flavor and tendency to dry out due to their low-fat content may not result in the same delicious taste you would get from higher end cuts. Chuck, while better value, will yield an overly chewy result, according to Serious Eats.
As such, sirloin, specifically the tips, make for the ideal compromise. Especially after a marinade, like classic olive oil, a red wine vinegar combo (via Simply Recipes), or a creatively repurposed miso-base, this cut of beef would do well over a fire. And no need for it to be a meat-fest; throw some eggplant and onions skewers onto the grill beside them, too.
Grilled meat is a beautiful enabler for spending time outdoors, sharing food, and tending a fire. What is now sold as skewered vegetables and meats in the supermarket dates far back to ancient civilizations. Some credit Turkic soldiers cooking meat on swords for its origin and theres even mention of skewered grilling in “The Odyssey”, per Clifford A. Wright.
If budget is not in question, filet mignon, porterhouse, and a ribeye are ideal, according to The Spruce Eats. These cuts dont require a marinade and should be cooked to rare or medium-rare to maximize their flavor. As a result, you would treat them the same as you would when preparing a steak with these cuts.
Top of the Line
The best cut of beef for kebabs is definitely filet mignon. Other excellent beef options include Porterhouse, and if it looks good at the butcher or in the meat counter, also try a rib-eye. They all grill nicely and dont require a marinade to make them tender. But while those cuts meet the criteria of best tasty beef, theyre pricey and will take a chunk out of your wallet.
If youre willing to splurge and want an easy preparation and great taste, do go for the filet mignon and you will not be disappointed. On a side note, tenderloin/filet mignon is best served rare or medium rare so, if you prefer your beef more well done, it may not be necessary to spend the money on a tenderloin.
Choose the Best Beef Cut for Kabobs Relatively tender, without a need for extensive marinating, Sirloin (from top to tip) is lean and fits into a balanced diet — plus, it’s budget-friendly . Other good beef choices for kabobs are Flat Iron or Strip Steak and even Tenderloin.
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