How to Grill Kabobs Perfectly Every Time

Kebabs, kabobs, skewers… anyway you look at it it’s food on a stick. Plain and simple. However, getting your skewers to be “perfect” isn’t that easy. I’ve eaten plenty of dry and burned skewered things in my lifetime.

grilling kabobs - how to cook kabobs

How to Grill Kabobs

It’s summer. Summer means lots of barbecue for us. Why? Because cooking “heats up the house” as my husband puts it. It does… and I like to cook a lot. Confession: I love to make lunch and I love to cook breakfast night… but the rest I just “like”. 

Where were we. Oh! Yes. Grilling. Confession #2: our grill is over 15 years old. It’s a hand me down Webber from my mom. I’ve had it for nearly 10 years and it was at least 5 year old before I got it. I’ve replaced nearly every part and I now have to use one of those long lighters to get it going… but it works.

So what’s the trick to the perfect skewer? I’m going to tell you. All of these tips are gathered from numerous trips to the butcher whom I used to nag every time my skewers didn’t turn out good.

If this is your first time here, know that I have a thing about good food. I don’t mean gourmet food, I mean good family food that fits my budget and everyone will eat. Oh. I also don’t do short order cooking –anymore. I’m recovering. If you are on the hunt for awesome recipes like this for every night of the week try one of my lunch or dinner meal plans

The key to great grilling is practice. Keep grilling all summer long. Seriously. That’s basically what the butcher keeps telling me and somehow I keep listening.

You can grill just about anything. Veggies, fruits, corn on the cob, pizza, meat, fish…. you name it the grill can handle it.

While cooking, you can munch on these fresh fruit skewers to keep your bellies happy while everyone waits on the grill.

How to Cook Kabobs

Here are some tips for better skewers:

  • Preheat the grill to a constant temperature before placing your skewers on it. Somewhere around 375 is great. 
  • Cut your meats and veggies in similar shape and size so they cook evenly.
  • Cut your meats and veggies bigger than the space between the grills. 
  • Wooden planks need to be soaked (submerged) in water for about 30 minutes beforehand so they don’t burn.
  • Wooden skewers need to be soaked as well.
  • For “restaurant style crosshatch marks” wait until the grate leaves a set of lines before rotating the skewers 90 degrees.
  • Brush your kebab pieces with olive oil (or vegetable oil) before placing them on the grill.
  • Since you are turning your meats and vegetables, remember to leave the skewers about the same time on the grill for each side.
  • Grilling consistently over medium heat is better than over high heat. You’ll get tough, burned or even scorched pieces that way (over 400 is a no-no).
  • Cooking times: meats will take 12-15 minutes total, fish about 10 and veggies about 8-10 depending on thickness.
  • Corn on the cob tip: I soak my corn husks for at least 30minutes and place the whole thing on my grill (husks and all). If I want grill marks on my corn, I open the husk and “paint-on” some olive oil before grilling.

Grilling Kabobs

Other grilling tips:

  • Eggplant: cut eggplant lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch wedges. Brush them with olive oil and place on grill cut side down.  Grill over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until they are golden. Flip and grill each additional side for 5-6 minutes.
  • Bell peppers: I like to grill whole bell peppers over high heat and turning them occasionally. It’s ok if the skins get charred in certain spots. Medium to large bell peppers about 15 minutes. After grilling, peel away charred skin, get rid of the seeds and stems and keep the meat part of your pepper.
  • Portobello mushrooms: although I am not a fan, my guests do like these puppies. Marinate them or brush them with olive oil prior to grilling. Grill mushrooms gill sides up over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes and flip over for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Asparagus: If you don’t have one of those veggie mesh cages, you can just use a wooden or metal skewer to poke your asparagus through. This way, they won’t fall between the grates. Poke them through the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 -like making an asparagus pontoon- and grill for about 9 minutes flipping half way.
  • Onions: cut onions in 1/2 to 3/8 inch thick slices. Poke through with a skewer and grill each onion skewer for about 15 minutes; flip and cook through for a final 2-3 minutes.
  • Zucchini & squash: these are my favorite veggies to grill. I cut them in fourths, brush them with olive oil and seasoning and grill for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Potatoes: did you know you have to cook potatoes before grilling them? Otherwise, your potatoes will need to go on the grill for about an hour! I cook my small potatoes until tender, rinse and set aside. I poke them through skewers, brush them with olive oil and grill for about 10 minutes.

Don’t these look good?

grilling kabobs - how to cook kabobs

Here is my basic bbq rub recipe for you! It will make the best bbq chicken, beef, ribs… sometimes I use it on veggies or into a marinade.

Laura’s BBQ Rub

summer grilled with perfect kebabs

This basic bbq rub will rock your world. No more store bought mystery rubs with “spices” as a secret ingredient. Adapted from Epicurious

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: BBQ


  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds or powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Break any brown sugar lumps with your fingers and make sure you wash your hands right after, the cayenne pepper is spicy!
  2. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for at least 6 months.


to make this into a marinade, mix 1 Tablespoon seasoning with 1/3 cup olive oil. Brush on to meat (or veggies) or place inside a zip bag in the fridge to marinate for a few hours.


  • Calories: 62
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.9g
  • Protein: 1.2g
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June 20, 2018

6 thoughts on “How to Grill Kabobs Perfectly Every Time”

  1. Mai says:

    This article is very helpful… in time for the summer!!! 🙂 Can’t wait to do all your helpful tips and impressed my family! haha Thanks!!!

  2. Karen Perret says:

    Question: how do you turn the skewers over without (a) burning yourself, (b) having some of the stuff on the skewer stay put, i.e. not turn over? I’ve never done this, but I’ve promised sis kebabs to a party of 10 people and my grill is not huge. Suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      I use tongs to lift the skewer and a flat metal spatula to lift. if you grease your bbq (with vegetable oil for example) prior to placing the skewers, they should lift fine. Also, don’t lift too early. Raw meat sticks.

      1. Terri says:

        If you use two skewers for each kabob the meat and vegetables won’t rotate when you flip them. Also, use tongs to flip. Thanks for the tips?

        1. Terri says:

          That was supposed to be an exclamation point at the end. Lol. Thanks for the tips!

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