Warmer days trigger the grilling pheromones in many hunters. One of the most versatile grilling epicurean delights is shish kebabs. Cooking over coals and utilizing a skewer dates back to nearly 2000 BC. Kebabs can utilize about any meat and vegetable combination you can imagine. In terms of meat, about any chunk of steak, roast, rabbit or fowl can be enjoyed kebab-style. One favorite of mine uses cottontail rabbit marinated in 50-50 teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice. But since my freezer is currently devoid of rabbit, I’ll use some venison round steak this month.
One of the tricks to putting together a great kebab is the marinade. For this marinade I use about 4 to 6 ounces of bourbon, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cut the venison into walnut-size chunks before putting them into the marinade, ensuring the meat is completely covered with the marinade; that way the meat gets thoroughly penetrated. Let the meat soak for at least 4 to 6 hours, covered, at room temperature. Then put the whole bowl of marinated meat in the fridge for half an hour to set it. Cut your veggies to size. I typically use sweet yellow onions, along with red and green bell peppers and large mushrooms.
If you're using a gas grill, pre-heat it so that the grill is slightly smoking if you wipe it with a vegetable-oil-soaked paper towel. If using briquettes, have enough of them just covered with white ash to ensure even heat all over your grill. Soak your bamboo skewers in water so they won’t burn on the grill. Load the skewers up with the veggies and meat, alternating flora and fauna.
The other secret to great kebabs is to cook them hot and fast. Spray the uncooked and skewered kabobs with non-stick spray—I use olive oil—and load up the grill. Turn the kabobs when the bottoms of the onions just get translucent—usually about 3 minutes. Once the onions are thoroughly translucent the kebabshould be ready. You’ll have to work quickly to keep them from drying out and getting too well-done.
Kebabs can be used as an hors d’oeuvre or as a main course. Plan on two to three kebabs per guest. If you're looking for a wine pairing, a nice cabernet sauvignon goes well with this.
1 pound venison steak, cut into walnut-size pieces