This beef kebab recipe from the September-October issue of Cook’s Illustrated uses an acid-free marinade designed to keep the meat juicy while permitting it to develop a nice char on the outside. Another good tip in this recipe is keeping the meat and vegetable kebabs separate. The meat cooks over the hottest part of the grill, while the vegetables cook more slowly on the perimeter. While the meat is resting, the vegetables continue to cook until browned and tender.

Kebabs on grill

Zucchini, onion and red pepper kebabs

I served the kebabs with baby potatoes steamed with olive oil and herbs in a foil packet on the grill.

Steamed baby potatoes

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use organic broth.

Beef and vegetable kebabs with potatoes



1 medium onion, roughly chopped (1 3/4 cups)

6 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1/3 cup beef broth

1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking grate

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons table salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Beef and Vegetables

2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large zucchini or summer squash (about 1/2 pound), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices

1 large red or green bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 large red or sweet onion , ends trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise, core discarded, each half cut into 4 wedges and each wedge cut crosswise into thirds



Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth, about 45 seconds. Transfer ¾ cup marinade to large bowl and set aside.

Beef and vegetables

Toss remaining marinade and beef in second large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 2 hours, tossing beef after 30-minutes. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables and toss with reserved marinade. Cover and let vegetables marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Tightly thread beef onto two 12-inch metal skewers, rolling or folding meat as necessary to maintain 2-inch cubes. Thread vegetables onto two 12-inch metal skewers, in alternating pattern of zucchini, pepper, and onion.

About 30 minutes before grilling, light large chimney starter mounded over rim with charcoal (7 quarts, about 120 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with ash, about 25 minutes. Build single-level fire by arranging all coals in center of grill in even layer, leaving 2-inch gap between grill wall and charcoal.

Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).

Place meat skewers in center of grill directly over coals and vegetable skewers near edge of coals but still over fire. Grill beef skewers until well browned, slightly charred, and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 125 degrees for medium-rare, 12 to 16 minutes, turning every 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer beef skewers to serving platter, loosely tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Continue to grill vegetable skewers until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes longer (17 to 21 minutes total), turning every 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to platter with beef. Remove beef and vegetables from skewers and serve. Serves 4-6.

From the September-October 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated