Summer is the time for outdoor parties, but who wants to stand over a hot grill and do all the cooking while your guests are having all the fun? How about putting your guests to work and they won’t even know it? If that sounds good to you, then consider throwing a kebab party. Not only will guests enjoy the fun but they’ll create a meal exactly how they want.
Slice all of the proteins into pieces of equal thickness and arrange in trays. I like to put them in big plastic party platters with covered tops. With proteins, you want to make sure they stay fresh and refrigerated. Trays with an ice pack option are good selections.
Here are two with good reviews:
Clear 2pc Appetizer Server with Ice Tray by Clear Acrylics received a 4.5 rating with over 72 reviews with the following features:
- Top tray great for cold appetizers. Bottom tray holds ice to keep food chilled.
- Perfect for indoor and outdoor parties!
- Dimensions: 3-3/4″H x 16-1/2″Diameter
Fit & Fresh Fruit and Veggie Bowl with Removable Ice Pack by Fit & Fresh received a 4.8 rating with 48 customer reviews with the following features:
- Container has 3 large compartments surrounding one center compartment for dip
- Includes non-toxic ice pack that snaps into the lid
- Center compartment holds a 1 cup container for dip
- Container dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe (do not microwave or dish-wash ice pack)
- Container is BPA free
Good protein choices for kebabs are:
- beef and pork tenderloin
- chicken breasts
- salmon, swordfish or salmon fillets
Grill-friendly vegetables and fruits
The mainstay of vegetables for a kebab are bell peppers, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and onions. The tomatoes and mushrooms you don’t even need to cut. For the others, cut them into cubes about the same size as the meat for even cooking.
If you want vegetables that require more cooking time than the meat, like potatoes or corn, you can partially cook them ahead of time. This way they only need a little bit of time on the grill to finish cooking and develop some char.
If you want some fruit, grapes, apples, pineapple, mango, and peaches are all good choices.
Again, multi-compartment containers are good selections to store the fruits and vegetables. They come in lots of varieties, but this is one of my favorite multi-compartment serving trays manufactured by Sana Enterprises. The tray is about 12 ½” in diameter overall, is dishwasher safe, has a convenient handle to bring outdoors and back indoors and leftovers can be stored in the fridge. They’re reasonably priced at $19.95.
The difference between a great kebab and one that’s just okay often comes down to the marinade. Look to the marinade to define the flavor and add some creativity. Contrary to popular belief, marinades don’t really penetrate the meat (except for acidic marinates), so there’s no huge benefit to marinating overnight. This works well with a make-your-own-kebab grilling party.
Mix up a few flavorful oils/marinades to brush on the kebabs before grilling. Place a silicone basting brush next to each oil/marinades for a no-mess option.
Prepare or buy sauces that guests can use as dipping sauces.
- Chicken and Pineapple Kebabs
- Sweet and Sour Shrimp Kebabs
- Pork Kebabs with Romesco Sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Kebabs
- Pepper Steak Kebabs
- Thai Beef Kebabs
Now let your guests do the heavy lifting. Let them assemble their own kebabs, double-skewering ingredients (so they lie flat without spinning) and grilling them. Your friends won’t even realize you’ve put them to work.