The Absolute Best Cuts Of Beef For Shish Kebabs

Grilled meat is a beautiful enabler for spending time outdoors, sharing food, and tending a fire. What is now sold as skewered vegetables and meats in the supermarket dates far back to ancient civilizations. Some credit Turkic soldiers cooking meat on swords for its origin and there's even mention of skewered grilling in "The Odyssey", per Clifford A. Wright.

It makes sense that shish kebabs' roots trace far back. It's a simple dish spread through nomadic cultures (via Bodrum) and adapted to ingredients from around the world. Although traditionally prepared in Turkey using lamb or mutton, other proteins like beef, chicken, seafood (like swordfish steaks), alongside veggies (like peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini) are also fit for the skewer. Since fire-cooked meat is prone to drying out, it's essential to pick a cut with enough fat to keep it juicy, but won't prolong the cooking time, states Masterclass. So when preparing shish kebabs using beef, what's the best cut to use? Let's break it down.

Sirloin optimizes cost, juiciness, and flavor for shish kebab

If budget is not in question, filet mignon, porterhouse, and a ribeye are ideal, according to The Spruce Eats. These cuts don't require a marinade and should be cooked to rare or medium-rare to maximize their flavor. As a result, you would treat them the same as you would when preparing a steak with these cuts.

Alas, a core of the shish kebab is its convenient, unfussy nature and not as a showcase for luxurious beef. Some reach for other tenderloins, but their lack of flavor and tendency to dry out due to their low-fat content may not result in the same delicious taste you would get from higher end cuts. Chuck, while better value, will yield an overly chewy result, according to Serious Eats

As such, sirloin, specifically the tips, make for the ideal compromise. Especially after a marinade, like classic olive oil, a red wine vinegar combo (via Simply Recipes), or a creatively repurposed miso-base, this cut of beef would do well over a fire. And no need for it to be a meat-fest; throw some eggplant and onions skewers onto the grill beside them, too.