You have just gotta love summer and all of the fresh flavors that come with it. Ripe, sun warmed tomatoes, tangy strawberries, sweet, icy cold melon, and the absolute favorite of most people – grilled foods.
I prefer foods grilled over wood or charcoal rather than gas grills but we do have a gas grill and Marc is a grilling genius. Still, I think the flavor of food grilled over gas is bland compared to that smoky flavor that comes with wood or charcoal. I am always looking for ways to get more flavor into the ingredients. Marinating the meat is one way to do it and it tenderized the meat at the same time. Recently I tried marinating skewers before grilling some beef and I really liked the result. A lot.
You have to soak the skewers anyway, so why not add flavor at the same time?
I have, in the past, grilled chicken on rosemary stems. It gave it a flavor all the way through, and one that I couldn’t get with marinating alone. I do think that this will work best with mildly flavored foods like chicken or pork better than the beef that I used. The beef picked up the flavor but unless you use some strong marinating liquid it won’t come through at all.
Also, be careful about infusing the skewers in alcohol – it is very flammable and the skewers could easily catch fire. You might want to burn off the alcohol before using it as an infusion.
I left the skewers to soak in a marinade of lemon, garlic, and thyme. You need to soak them at least three hours but I left them overnight. When you are ready to grill push your ingredients onto the skewers, season, and grill like you normally do.
The skewers release the flavor they have soaked up into the center of the meat with delicious results.
Tips for Perfect Skewered Foods
- Always soak the skewers
- Make sure foods are cut in a uniform size so everything cooks at the same rate
- Use two skewers with shrimp to keep it from twirling around when you try to turn it
- Use a lot of herbs and flavor in your infusing liquid or the flavor won’t be very strong
- Remove the ingredients from the skewers when you serve them
- Never reuse wooden skewers
Some flavor combinations to try are:
- Orange, ginger, soy sauce
- Pineapple, ancho pepper, onion
- Garlic, liquid smoke, bourbon (cook off the alcohol first)
The possibilities are almost limitless! Happy grilling, y’all.