How to Cook Shish Kabobs on a Gas Grill

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homemade chicken shish kabobs

Quick, versatile, and tasty, grilled shish kabobs are a classic barbecue staple. Though the name comes from a Turkish phrase translating to “grilled meat on skewers,” the dish can be made with just about anything. No matter what ingredients you have to work with, chances are you can transform them into excellent kabobs with very little effort.

Because gas grills can be fired up in a matter of minutes, they’re a natural companion for this carefree summertime dish. You’ll also be able to maintain the perfect temperature as you cook, which is always a plus. Here are our best tips regarding how to cook shish kabobs on a gas grill.

How to Cook Shish Kabobs on a Gas Grill

freshly grilled shish kabobs with a horseradish dipping sauce

Step 1: Prepare the skewers

Because we like to make shish kabob on a regular basis, we recommend investing in a set of quality stainless steel skewers. Wipe them clean with a damp cloth before assembling your ingredients.

If you don’t have a set of steel skewers, then the wooden bamboo variety will suffice. You’ll need to soak these in water beforehand in order to keep them from combusting once they’re on the grill. When wooden skewers are allowed to catch fire, they can affect the cooking process and the quality of the results. Simply place the skewers in a mixing bowl, cover them with cold water, and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Choose your ingredients

While the skewers are soaking, consider what you’ll be putting on them. Most veggies and delicate proteins such as shrimp and chicken will be done in just a few minutes, while steak and lamb will require a longer cooking time. Heartier vegetables such as portobello mushrooms will need a few more minutes on the flames as well.

Here are some of the best meats and vegetables for shish kabobs:

  • Beef-tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin
  • Chicken-boneless breasts or tenders, thighs
  • Sausage
  • Pork-boneless chops or tenderloin
  • Bacon
  • Lamb-leg, loin, or shoulder
  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Firm tofu
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms-portobello or white button
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

Tip: If you choose to marinate your meat or seafood before assembling the shish kabobs, use an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice to tenderize the meat. Just be sure not to marinate seafood for longer than 30 minutes, or it will turn mushy when it’s cooked.

Step 3: Assemble the kabobs

Remember that if you choose to combine several different ingredients on one kabob, they’ll need to cook at the same rate. In the interest of keeping things simple, we would recommend making separate kabobs for meat and veggies. On a related note, make sure to cut the vegetables and meat chunks so that they’re roughly the same size.

Space the ingredients so that they’re about 1/2 inch apart on the skewers. If necessary, thread awkward shapes (such as shrimp) through two skewers to increase stability.

Step 4: Start the grill

steak shish kabobs on grill with flames

Set the control knobs to medium and press the ignition switch. Allow the grill to heat up for 5-10 minutes before adding the kabobs.

Step 5: Grill the kabobs

Brush the skewers with a neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola. Place the veggie kabobs over indirect heat and the meat skewers over direct heat, being sure to space them out to allow for even cooking.

Grill the kabobs, turning every 2-3 minutes, until the ingredients are cooked through. Chicken, fish, and vegetable kabobs should be done in about 8-10 minutes. Lamb and beef can stay on the grill for another rotation, about 10-14 minutes total.

If you’d like a little char on your veggies, briefly place the skewers over direct heat before taking them off the grill. For more tips on grilling veggie kabobs, take a look at this informational video.

Step 6: Ready to serve

As soon as the meat is cooked through and the veggies are tender-crisp and lightly charred, remove the kabobs from the grill. Allow the meat to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

If desired, sprinkle the kabobs with minced herbs to complement the flavors.

When you find yourself with an abundance of odds and ends in the fridge, shish kabobs are a great way to clean house. Even better, when you use a gas grill to cook them off, you’ll have fewer dishes to wash at the end of the day.

Happy grilling!

Darren Wayland Avatar


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