Well-marbled steak tips, with their beefy flavor and tender texture, proved the best choice for our grilled beef kebabs.
We created a robust marinade using several key elements: Beef broth and tomato paste added rich, umami tones, salt helped brine the meat and keep it moist, a bit of sugar helped with caramelization, and rosemary and lemon zest added bright aromas.
If a barbecue is in your Fourth of July plans next week, these skewers would be a welcome addition.
We cut the meat into large pieces and packed it tightly onto the skewers to help keep the beef moist and tender while grilling. We also patted the meat dry to help prevent steaming. We paired our beef with a trio of firm and flavorful vegetables that come into their own when grilled: peppers, red onions and zucchini.
If you can’t find sirloin steak tips, sometimes labeled “flap meat,” substitute 2 pounds of blade steak (if using, cut each steak in half to remove the gristle). You will need six 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe. If you have long, thin pieces of meat, roll or fold them into approximate 2-inch cubes before skewering.
GRILLED BEEF KEBABS WITH LEMON-ROSEMARY MARINADE
By America’s Test Kitchen
- 1-1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise, sliced 1 inch thick
- 2 red or green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 2 red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces, 3 layers thick
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Transfer 3/4 cup marinade to large bowl and set aside.
Place remaining marinade and beef in 1-gallon sealable bag and toss to coat. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, flipping bag every 30 minutes.
Add zucchini, bell peppers and onions to bowl with reserved marinade and toss to coat. Cover; let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
Remove beef from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Thread beef tightly onto two 12-inch metal skewers. Thread vegetables onto four 12-inch metal skewers, alternating zucchini, bell pepper and onion pieces.
>> For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over center of grill, leaving 2-inch gap between grill wall and charcoal. Set cooking grate in place, cover and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
>> For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium-low.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place beef skewers on grill (directly over coals if using charcoal or over hotter side of grill if using gas). Place vegetable skewers on grill (near edge of coals but still over coals if using charcoal or on cooler side of grill if using gas). Cook (covered if using gas), turning skewers every 3 to 4 minutes, until beef is well browned and registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer beef skewers to serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest while finishing vegetables.
Continue to cook vegetables until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to platter. Using tongs, slide beef and vegetables off skewers onto platter. Serves 4-6.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 260 calories, 12 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 67 mg cholesterol, 462 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 26 g protein.