Sunday, April 14, 2013

Batch Cooking Kabobs

This past Easter I hosted around 20 people for dinner. Cooking for 20 people is easy if you're making a roast but this year I was inspired to make some Shish Kabob and Shish Tawook. Here's how I pulled it off:

Meat
5.5lb Lamb Leg Roast
6lb Chicken Breasts

For the lamb I trimmed the fat and tried to separate it into the component muscles before cubing. I was left with a couple tasty meat flaps for lunch. The chicken I cubed normally.

Marinade
For the Kabob marinade I used this Greek dressing recipe. While the recipe is restaurant sized, I scaled it down to 30 servings (2 cups of red wine vinegar) and I had some extra to use as dressing. For the Tawook I made the same recipe only substituting lemon juice for the vinegar. After mixing the dressing, I ran it on high in the Blendtec to get it to emulsify. It started separating the next day, but after two weeks it's still 80% emulsified. Perhaps next time I make it I'll substitute fresh garlic, or add some more mustard. Both will help the emulsion hold.

I left the meat in the marinade for 24hrs. This made the meat wonderfully tender as acid will break down some of the connective tissue. A couple pieces of lamb that were fairly tender before I put them in were a little over tenderized. It's hard to control for this because large cuts of meat have such a variety of muscles.

Cook Prep
Assembly is straight forward. Separate the skewered meat with onion or green pepper for even cooking. Be sure to soak wooded skewers in water so they don't burn. The last time I cooked a large batch of kabobs there was a large bottleneck at the grill. So after some internet research, I pre-cooked the kabobs to medium-rare in the oven. 450 degrees for 12 minutes while I warmed up the grill on high. Normally this would char the outside before they cooked but with the pre-cooking they only have to stay on long enough to get some delicious grill marks. About 15 minutes before I was ready to serve, I briefly grilled the kabobs and had them ready to eat in no time.