With all the prep it takes to make shish kabobs, cutting all the meat and vegetables into small cubes and threading them onto skewers, it can be time-consuming, especially if you are preparing a lot for a barbecue party. Preparing the uncooked shish kabobs a day or so before and freezing them will give you more time to prepare other items on the day of the barbecue. Once thawed out, you can cook the shish kabobs on the grill like you normally would.
Cut up your choice of meat or poultry into one-inch cubes and place in a bowl. You can make shish kabobs with almost any type of meat, although they are commonly made with beef, chicken, lamb or shrimp. Make a marinade to pour over your meat, depending on your taste preference. A simple marinade would consist of olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Spread the meat covered with marinade on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and place in the freezer until the raw meat is solid. Place the frozen meat into large resealable freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Fresh meat and poultry can last in the freezer anywhere from six months to a year. However, the longer you keep it in the freezer, the greater the risk that the quality will start to degrade.
Cut washed, fresh vegetables for the kebabs into one-inch pieces. Traditional vegetables commonly used for shish kebabs include bell peppers and onions, both of which freeze well. Avoid using vegetables like tomatoes or mushrooms, as these do not freeze well. You can add those vegetables later by assembling right before cooking the shish kebabs if you want. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place the cut vegetables on a separate, clean baking tray and place in the freezer until the pieces are solid. Remove from the baking tray and place the vegetables in resealable freezer bags, a separate one for the peppers and another for the onions. Remove the excess air and return the vegetables to the freezer. Keep the vegetables frozen for no more than eight months.
Assembling Shish Kabobs
You can choose to assemble the shish kabobs before freezing, provided you do not plan on adding other vegetables later. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. To assemble the shish kabobs, alternate meat chunks with two or three vegetable pieces onto the wooden skewers, repeating until you get near the top. You can use two skewers for each shish kabob for more sturdiness when grilling. Leave an inch of space at the top and at least two inches at the bottom for handling the skewers. Place the shish kabob skewers in gallon-sized freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. If you do plan on adding other vegetables right before cooking, do not pre-assemble the skewers.
Thawing and Cooking
Place the frozen shish kabobs in the refrigerator to fully thaw for up to 24 hours. If you are adding additional vegetables that were not frozen, this is the time to assemble the shish kabobs onto the skewers. Prepare your grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate with vegetable oil. Lay the skewers on the grill to cook, rotating the shish kebabs so they cook on all sides. If you are using beef, the meat needs to cook to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using poultry, you must cook the chicken to 165 F. Allow the shish kebabs to cool until you are able to easily handle them before serving. If you have leftovers, you can store frozen shish kebabs in gallon-sized freezer bags on their skewers for up to two to six months. However, the meat may become tough when you reheat it and the vegetables may be very soggy and not regain their crispness after having already been frozen.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.