When summer rolls around and you’re into GrillMaster mode, be sure to make some great memories with your deer meat from successful hunts last season.
Kebabs are super ways to enjoy your venison. They’re fun to eat, easy to prepare and you can make them ahead of time or just before putting them on the grill. Kids can get into the cooking fun, too, by prepping their own skewers with whatever they want.
Here are some tips to enjoy your kebab grilling parties this year.
Stab Your Stuff
Wood doesn’t heat up and raise the temperature inside the meat, but you do risk having your skewers burn if you don’t do one important thing. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use. Personally, we prefer metal skewers for our kebabs at home. They have a loop on the end, so I can pick them up easily. Because metal conducts heat, though, keep an eye on how long you leave the skewers on the grill.
If you’re camping then wooden skewers would be perfect. Just toss them into the fire when you’re done and it’s one less piece of trash to haul out.
Chunk Your Venison: If you’ve ever looked at pre-packaged skewers in the grocery store then you may see some with different sized chunks. You’ll have one (usually beef or chicken) that is 2x2x2 and another on the same skewer smaller.
The small chunks cook faster than the big ones, which may not cook long enough (for some folks). Then your Aunt Myrtle crinkles her warty nose and says, “Ewww, blood. You’re going to get worms!” Then she won’t eat and will prattle on the rest of the evening about how bloody meat will give you worms.
Make sure all the meat is cut the same size. Ditto for the vegetables. Keep everything about the same size and it’ll all cook, for the most part, at the same rate. Some items such as tomatoes, onions or bell peppers with more water content may scorch, so keep an eye on them.
Fruit? Yes, Fruit!
If you’ve ever had crème brûlée — one of my favorite deserts — then you know how tasty caramelized sugar can be. It’s like the ultimate sweet flavor to combine with a savory flavor. You can get this with grilled fruit, too.
Pineapple has a high sugar content and works great on a grill. You’ll get some super flavors and nice char marks, which add even more flavor. Peaches and plums also are good possibilities. If you’re making guacamole for appetizers, seed and slice an avocado and then put the slices on the grill for a few minutes. Don’t slice too thin, though, and don’t let it sit there too long.
Surf and Turf
Venison is great alone, of course, but don’t forget about fish. A little surf and turf gives your family and friends an extra option; some may want just fish or they may want both. Splurge at the store or your fish monger for something firm that will hold up on the skewers — salmon, tuna, mahi mahi, swordfish.
Another option is to grill venison kebabs and also have a side of fish; my family loves redfish on the half shell, which is fantastic and easy to make.
Some folks prefer only salt and pepper on their venison, and others like to whip up a marinade. I love both so I don’t have any preference. However, with my marinades (or anyone’s) I’d rather have something light and tasty. Too many herbs or liquids covers up the delicious flavor of venison. Drenching venison in a heavy, thick marinade isn’t for me. Perhaps for you but I’m not a fan of anything heavy, especially bottled stuff from stores.
Citrus has long been a great addition to fish and chicken, and it’s a great flavor enhancer for your kebabs. Fresh lemon, limes or oranges can give your venison kebabs an extra zing. Or mix the juice of half a lemon, lime or orange into your marinade.
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