The following is a guest post from my friend Phil from www.love2bbq.co.uk. I hadn’t heard of Russian skewers before reading this. Sounds very cool and I will need to pick some up.
(Update: I’ve been bombarded with questions on where to get these Russian Skewers. Here’s a link to Russian Skewers at Amazon.com. Note that I get a small (think pennies) commission if you buy through that link- Thanks!)
Kebabs and Russian Skewers
Simple and Quick Grilling
When I cook on the grill, which is most days, I do try to find recipes that are both simple but pack maximum flavour. You can’t get much better than a kebab to help achieve this.
What I like about kebabs is that you can use different meats and different flavor marinades, whether you are wanting something sweet, spicy or just get your food full of your favourite flavors.
Just do a search on Google for your meat and the flavor you are looking for and I will guarantee you will find something very close to what you are looking for. Even if you don’t you can find a base marinade and then experiment with your own ingredients.
They are then great to serve either on their own or in a flatbread or pitta, with your favourite dip on the side.
Marinate! Marinate! Marinate!
Once you know what meat you are cooking, one of the key things to guarantee a good cook is to marinate. The longer the better, so I normally aim to marinate for 24 hours. You don’t have to do it for this long, but if you can plan in advance I would recommend it.
Marinating not only adds great flavour to your meat but also will help tenderize tougher cuts of meat. I also find that it helps when cooking on the grill as it helps the meat not burn, which is especially important when cooking directly.
Russian Skewers – a problem cured!
When cooking with normal skewers the food tends to sit directly on the grate. It often sticks and when you try to rotate the skewer, not only is it hot to handle but they typically roll over to a side that is already well charred.
Russian Skewers are a total revelation – simple but makes such a difference when cooking.
What are Russian Skewers?
Russian Skewers are long, thick skewers that easily span the circumference of the 57cm Weber Kettle BBQ. They are 70cm long, flat bladed, with twists towards the handle loop so that it is easy to position them exactly how you want them. They are commonly used in cooking across Russia, the Baltic and Scandinavia, often in Shashlik restaurants.
There are a few things that I personally love about cooking with these:
- They are not directly on the grill. I actually cook with these without any grate. They have a distance between the coals and I can still put the lid of the BBQ on and create a smoky oven environment.
- They really help with an even cook. It is really easy to make sure you can get the meat in the position you need. There is no trying to balance the meat on one side for it just to roll back to a ‘done’ side.
- They don’t need to be watched over every minute they are cooking, which I find I do with the thinner, shorter skewers.
- With the thinner shorter skewers I find I cut meat and veg to a small size. With these I cook larger chunks which I much prefer. It makes it easier to cook and not fully dry out the meat.
I would highly recommend you invest in a set of these. They are reasonably priced and have been a game changer for me when cooking kebabs.
What kebabs to cook?
As mentioned earlier in this article you can find so many kebabs online to satisfy your own personal tastes. Below are a selection of my goto favourites:
- Chicken Souvlaki: this is Greek style kebab that uses olive oil, garlic and lemon as the main ingredients. Great served with a Greek salad and in a pitta bread – https://www.love2bbq.co.uk/2017/08/08/bbq-chicken-souvlaki/
- Moroccan Spiced Chicken Kebab: as it says in the name this is spicy kebab with North African flavours. It main ingredients are garlic, lemon, yogurt, Ras el honout and paprika – https://www.love2bbq.co.uk/2018/04/26/moroccan-spiced-chicken-kebabs/
- Peruvian Beef Kebab: the main ingredients here are turmeric, garlic, cumin and chilli paste. They do have a little heat but it is a pleasant heat rather than being overly spicy – https://www.love2bbq.co.uk/2018/04/17/peruvian-beef-kebabs/
- Saffron Lamb Kebab: the main ingredient here is the saffron as you would expect. Add lemon, garlic, olive oil and all spice these make for a really tasty lamb kebab – https://www.love2bbq.co.uk/2018/04/17/peruvian-beef-kebabs/
I would really encourage you to play around with the flavors of any kebabs you do. You will soon be making your own personal kebabs that your friends and family will love.