A very big day for America is right around the corner—we’ve just celebrated Juneteenth and now we’re ready for the Fourth of July! I tried this shrimp kabob recipe for Memorial Day and waited until now to share with you because July truly is the month of family cookouts.
Especially in some states where cases are still low and you can gather safely with your closest loved ones. But please, be mindful that there is still a pandemic on the loose and you can never be too careful!
Kabobs are perfect for using up a ton of fresh veggies while making something the whole family can enjoy. There are a million and one combos you could make for kabobs and one very important step to help prevent burning or loss of all those juicy flavors.
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about making shrimp kabobs! Most of the information also applies to steak or chicken kabobs, but there will be a bit of information specific to cooking shrimp on the grill.
Corn: Cut the corn into 1-2″ pieces and thread the skewer through the center. You may want to start or end with corn if you’ll have it on the kabobs because it will be tough to push the skewer through the core.
Zucchini: Cut the zucchini coins relatively thick (1/2″ or thicker if preferred) as they will cook very quickly when exposed to heat. The increased thickness will help prevent it from being soft and falling off the skewer.
You don’t want the zucchini to be pushed through the skewer as the corn (perfectly centered) as the center is quite soft and won’t hold well to the skewer. Hold the coin horizontally and push the skewer through the side to have as much surface space on the skewer as possible. Even thicker pieces can also be cut into semi-circles and pushed through the same way.
Carrots: Carrots are quite tough vegetables that don’t tend to cook as quickly as the softer vegetables on this list. For that reason, you don’t need the coins to be chopped nearly as thick as the zucchini. Maintain an average thickness of 1/4″ and if you plan to cut into semi-circles, they can be up to 1/2″ thick.
Skewer similar to the zucchini, avoiding them getting pushed through the center as they tend to slip off after being cooked.
Potato: Potato cubes (about 1″) are usually preferred over slices as they cook very quickly. These are best placed next to or in between two hardy vegetables as they do not maintain a grip on the skewer once cooked. I would not recommend keeping them on the end of the skewer for this reason.
Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes cook very similar to white potatoes and will also get soft once cooked, so they should be sandwiched between hardy vegetables for this reason. They can also be cut into 1″ cubes.
Onion: Onion slices can be tricky and you may find yourself wanting to keep them in the til foil rather than on the skewer itself. If you get frustrated with the onion breaking when trying to puncture it, this may be your best option. Otherwise, keep the onion pieces relatively thick and use 2-3 pieces in every section you want the onion to be. They may slip off easily once cooked as they get extremely soft.
I used frozen shrimp (yay for sales at the grocer) but the process is essentially the same as using fresh shrimp for the kabobs. Since mine were frozen, the peels and tails remained on for the grilling process, but you can remove them beforehand.
I skewered the kabob stick through the center of the thickest part of the shrimp, which tends to be toward the top, less in the center. This is because of the location of the shrimp’s legs, which peel off with the tail and shell. Skewering it this way will avoid the shrimp from falling off the skewer when cooked while the legs are not stable and won’t provide any support once you deshell them.
For the shrimp, you may want to dip into a spice mixture before skewering as this will ensure they have a bold flavor after cooking! When your kabobs are prepped with shrimp and veggies, lay onto double-layered aluminum foil and face the same direction (pointy end vs. blunt end).
Add a generous amount of butter on top of the kabobs to let it melt over them and then help prevent burning when it is moved to the grill. You can also add herbs and spices to the bottom of the foil and it will mix with the melted butter and bring flavor to the veggies.
Add another layer of aluminum foil to wrap on top of the prepped kabobs and pinch together with the prior pieces to make a nearly air-tight container. You still want to leave a small but noticeable gap on the side for steam to escape—keeping it on the side still allows the humidity and butter to condensate and drip back onto the kabobs inside the foil.
While our communities might not be completely open yet, it’s a breath of fresh air to know you can still celebrate with close family for this special occasion. While families have potlucks and invite people to bring their own food to share, it can be intimidating to know what’s socially acceptable to share right now.
The glory of kabobs is that you remove the risk of people sharing utensils and people instead can pick out which piece they want without coming in contact with what everyone else is touching to serve themselves. Still, you should remember the hand sanitizer when having a larger gathering, even if you’re all close family.
I wish everyone a safe yet eventful Fourth of July this year and hope you may spend it with your friends and family in a way that doesn’t impede social restrictions.